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To all the conservative bigots who tried to stop today from happening. #SCOTUS pic.twitter.com/yk36RZSLnu
— Matt Morgan (@Matt7022) June 26, 2015
President Obama looking at Fox News like… pic.twitter.com/7Q13njTL79
— Xavier (@Rev_Xavier) June 26, 2015
Dang, universal healthcare AND gay marriage in America by 2015 pic.twitter.com/tVou0FXMDM
— Ryan Broderick (@broderick) June 26, 2015
Fox News and the Neocons* so silly… [*Dibs on band name!] pic.twitter.com/q2bMQmcyPe
— Dan J (@RelUnrelated) June 26, 2015
Anti-SSM peeps: "Sure, it's legal, but GOD still says it's wrong!" Me: "sorry, can't hear you, dancing too hard" pic.twitter.com/mopY4zQa8M
— Rantasmo (@rantasmo) June 26, 2015
For those who don't have time to read Scalia's dissent on #SCOTUS gay marriage ruling, here it is in gif form. pic.twitter.com/kP2vWBweCO
— skullsinthestars (@drskyskull) June 26, 2015
BREAKING: live footage of the scene outside the Supreme Court pic.twitter.com/AJMsL47gZm
— Hayes Brown (@HayesBrown) June 26, 2015
Okay, supporters of marriage equality: you've earned this. https://t.co/1ORxUJOsG2 #SCOTUS
— skullsinthestars (@drskyskull) June 26, 2015
— Kaleigh Rogers (@KaleighRogers) June 26, 2015
Scalia dissent will be studied by future generations of lawyers for a century. pic.twitter.com/YGKDyolC9R
— Kevin Van Valkenburg (@KVanValkenburg) June 26, 2015
Congratulations and thank you to everyone who fought for marriage equality for all!]]>
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Bethany Rodgers is a reporter for the Frederick News-Post in Frederick County, Maryland. She wrote an article, Shreve raises staffing, parking concerns, about some issues with the County Council there. She wanted to get the opinion of Kirby Delauter for the article, but he didn’t return her call when she wanted to ask a question.
Mr. Delauter was mentioned twice in that article: Two whole sentences in an article that wasn’t even about him. What was his response? He responded on Facebook:
Yeah, I had to read it twice, too.
Hey, Kirby: Are you honestly that fucking ignorant about life? Are you unaware that the news media doesn’t have to get your permission to mention you in a story? Were the two sentences libelous?
The News-Post followed up with another article: Delauter to The News-Post: Don’t use my name without permission. The national media also picked up on it. Mr. Delauter is getting his fifteen minutes of fame by letting everyone know that he doesn’t grasp even the most basic concepts of free speech.
I hope Kirby grows up and buys a clue some day.]]>
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If these had been Muslim men refusing to sit next to women, they would most likely have been held at gunpoint by the TSA until the FBI arrived to take them into custody. If they had been white supremacists refusing to sit next to a black person, would the flight have been delayed while trying to accommodate their needs, or would they have been ushered off the plane so that everyone else could move ahead with their lives?
Fuck this accommodation bullshit. Your ideas that other people are lesser beings than you are, and that your feelings of impropriety trump everyone else’s rights to go about their day are bullshit. Grow the fuck up and get over yourselves.]]>
County officials in Virginia have apparently violated the constitution by designating which religious leaders can deliver prayers before public meetings, according to the state’s American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU sent a letter Thursday to the…
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Over the past year or so, I’ve been putting together a collection of vintage cameras. I don’t view them as any kind of “investment.” I enjoy cleaning them up and making minor repairs when they need them. They look neat, too.
A few of them aren’t really fit to be used any more, but most of them are fully functional. Finding film for them is often a different story, though. One of these days I’ll actually use one of them to take some shots.
I received a package on Monday, 18 November 2013, that contained a Keystone B-1 16mm movie camera. I had purchased the camera on eBay on the Friday before. The shipping cost was $8.85, while the camera itself only cost 99¢. Yes, vintage cameras are often available at extremely low prices.
The B-1 was manufactured by the Keystone Camera Company beginning in 1936. It uses 16mm film on 100 foot reels which are 3.6 inches (9.15cm) in diameter. Keep in mind that a 100 foot reel of film shot at eighteen frames per second (18fps) only runs for three minutes and forty-two seconds.
The camera’s body is 9″ (23cm) tall, 4″ (10.5cm) wide, and 2.25″ (6cm) thick. It weighs about 4.5 pounds (2.05kg). The lens is a C-mount Ilex Cinemat, F:3-5, E.F. 1″.
Like most consumer movie cameras prior to the 1950s, this camera uses a spring-wound clockwork motor to drive the shutter and film reels. That’s the first thing I tested when I got it out of the box, of course. Though it seemed a bit sluggish at first, it does run.
I made a video recording of the shutter (with the lens removed) operating. The recording was made at 60fps, then I slowed it down to 20fps. At one-third speed, the sluggishness of the timing can be heard. Yes, it does sound like a sewing machine at this speed.
The first problem that I noticed with this camera was that the cover didn’t seem to latch properly. The D-ring on the cover is supposed to rotate about 90° between the locked and unlocked positions. When I received the camera, however, it would only rotate about half that much toward the “closed” position.
The inside of the cover revealed how the locking mechanism works, and how it was damaged. The D-ring rotates a cam that slides a plate up and down inside the cover. That plate has four tabs on it that slide behind four tabs on the camera body to lock it in place. Two of the cover’s tabs were bent up, preventing the plate from sliding all the way to the locked position, as well as leaving the cover a bit loose.
I straightened the bent tabs by holding a small steel block against the tabs while striking the block with a hammer. It didn’t turn out perfectly flat, but it improved it enough so that the locking mechanism fully closes. The cover also fits more tightly now, preventing any light from leaking into the film chamber.
The next issue that I noticed had to do with the primary lens. The dust and dirt was easy enough to deal with, but the iris inside the lens didn’t seem to move. The ring used to adjust the aperture turned all the way around, not stopping at the maximum and minimum settings as it should. I’d never taken apart a lens iris before. I don’t let things like that prevent me from learning, though.
Removing the lens “hood” and the front lens element allowed me to access the iris mechanism. There’s a retaining ring which holds down the ring which is supposed to rotate about 45° to adjust the aperture. The notches in that ring should line up with the round holes with raised edges in the iris leaf elements below it. It appears that the retaining ring had slipped, allowing the adjustment ring to lift out of position.
To be honest; I was sort of reticent to disassemble it any further. I don’t really have plans to use this camera for its original purpose. If the lens was damaged, it wouldn’t make the camera of less use to me. That being the case, it wouldn’t matter if I damaged it further by taking it apart.
Removing the retaining ring wasn’t too difficult. I’ve got a set of small picks that work great for that sort of thing. The adjustment ring then came out easily.
The iris is composed of seven hinged leaves which pivot in unison to adjust the size of the aperture. The pivoting end of each of these leaves appeared to be working well. The other ends have a small hole punched through from the underside, leaving a raised edge to fit the adjustment ring’s notches. Not visible in the photos is a slot in the side of the assembly which accommodates the tab on the outer edge of that ring. It describes the 45° rotation limits for the aperture adjustment.
Reassembling everything provided a little bit of intricate work. I had to use a small pick to position all of the iris leaves before inserting the adjustment ring in the appropriate position for that aperture. First, I set the outside adjustment ring almost to the smallest aperture (f/16). Next, I positioned the iris leaves so that they formed a tiny aperture while their free ends were equally spaced around the circle. I then positioned the outside tab of the adjustment ring so that it was at the far end of the slot in which it turns. I had to make very tiny adjustments to each of the leaves in order to get them to match up to the slots in the ring. Once that ring was seated in place, I carefully pushed the retaining ring into the assembly. Threads on the inside of the assembly hold the retaining ring in place.
The outer lens and hood simply thread on to the rest of the assembly. Of course, I cleaned them a bit, first. It’s amazing how much dust can collect on these things. I held the lens up to the light as I turned the outer adjustment ring and was very pleased to see the aperture dilating and contracting as it was supposed to. It works! Never let the simple fact that you’ve never done something before be the sole reason for not trying to do it.
What else do I intend to do with this camera? I still need to clean and polish some of it, to make it look nice and shiny. I could open up the clock drive to clean and lubricate it. Since I really don’t plan to photograph with it, though, I think I’ll leave that part alone. I need to build a small base for it: The rounded bottom doesn’t allow it to stand on its own. It has a threaded base to fit a tripod, so I can construct a base to fit that. Once that’s done, I can put it up on the shelf with my other cameras, or use it for a bookend, or… Who knows?]]>
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I suppose I really need to make it a habit to write more. Most of my blog posts consist of my opinions on a variety of subjects, which is fine, but I should take more time to let the world see what I’m doing, not just to know what I’m thinking. Who I am is more than just what’s going on in my head.
I don’t “work” at a job right now, but there are always things with which I occupy my time. I should take the time to share some of those things. What good is it to create if we don’t share our creations?]]>
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Marriage equality is right, and it is just. Denying the ability of two consenting adults to marry has no rational basis. There are religious arguments against it, but as religious rule has no binding on laws within our country, those apply solely to those members of religious groups who choose to follow them.
Here is a portion of the statement released by the GOP caucus on the morning of 23 April 2013:
Our Senate Republican Caucus is deeply committed to the values of freedom, liberty and limited government. In accordance with those values, we believe that freedom means freedom for everyone, and that every citizen of Rhode Island deserves the freedom to marry the person they love.
We support Senate Bill 38 because it rightfully extends the civil aspects of marriage to all Rhode Islanders while protecting the freedom of religion our state was founded upon. Gay and lesbian couples deserve to be treated equally under the law, and at the same time churches, synagogues and mosques in our state must be free to exercise their faith and their sacraments as they see fit. This bill strikes the right balance and should be passed by the Senate.
The mention of religious institutions being able to “exercise their faith and their sacraments as they see fit” should allay some of the irrational fears expressed by some of those who oppose same-sex marriage. Some people, though, will never be convinced by facts.
Many people seem to be convinced that our country should be governed by laws based on their particular interpretation of their holy book. They state (without any justification) that the United States is a “Christian nation.” To them, anything they see as “sin” should be against the law. They are wrong, and they will be on the wrong side of history when the next century’s textbooks are written.]]>
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I follow someone on Twitter named Joe Cienkowski. I’ve given Joe a lot of grief over his lack of understanding when it comes to basic concepts of science, etc., in the past. I still like the guy, though. I really do think that Joe means well. Unfortunately, his gullibility for anything that hypes his existing fears and religious beliefs makes him horribly misinformed about reality.
When misinformation becomes the basis of some people’s mind-set, it can be very dangerous. If you don’t think that’s a problem, perhaps you should check out the Randolph Linn case.
An Indiana man who pleaded guilty yesterday to setting an Ohio mosque on fire told a judge he was motivated by media accounts – specifically those on Fox News – suggesting Muslims were threatening Americans and were in control of parts of the federal government. —Morlin, Bill. “Mosque Arsonist: Fox News Made Me Do It!” Salon. Salon Media Group, Inc., 22 Dec. 2012. Web. 12 Feb. 2013. <http://www.salon.com/2012/12/22/mosque_arsonist_fox_news_made_me_do_it/>.
That’s why it bothers me when I see things like this posted on Twitter:
The rest of our brief exchange on this subject went as I expected it to.
Misinformation is making a segment of our population dangerously afraid of anyone who happens to be Muslim or who appears (to them) to be of Middle Eastern descent. The blatant sources of misinformation are easy enough to identify, but not easy to counter. When lies are profitable, and protected speech, what more can we do than continue to point it out?]]>
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My story begins with a blog post by Ed Brayton. Ed’s post is “Rush: The Commies are Coming, Led by Obama!” The post was referencing one of Erik Rush’s recent columns; Resurrecting Communism’s Glory Days. You’ll notice that the article is posted on the Canada Free Press web site. The “subtitle” for that site is “…Because without America there is no Free World.” That should give you a hint as to their usual type of content.
Yes, Erik Rush is convinced that we need to be afraid of the Red Menace that is communism. I had to look at my calendar to be sure that the year wasn’t 1958, and that the date wasn’t April 1st.
It’s simply amazing how the nutjobs like Erik Rush feed off of each others’ delusions. Erik’s article starts with this gem:
In his February 1 column, Dr. Steven Lambert reprinted in part a section of testimony that was given before the House of Representatives in 1963; this cited 45 declared goals the Communist Party in America had in their strategy for taking the country over. The entire reprint is available in several places online, so I won’t use up space to include them here.
How could one argue with testimony given before the US House of Representatives? Here’s a hint for you: All sort of bullshit gets read into the congressional record. To paraphrase a meme, “I saw it in the Congressional Record, so it must be true!” The post Mr. Rush refers to is citing the US Congressional Record for January 10, 1963. If you’ll take time to examine this citation, you’ll find mention of the original source.
Current Communist Goals
EXTENSION OF REMARKS OF HON. A. S. HERLONG, JR. OF FLORIDA
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Thursday, January 10, 1963
Mr. HERLONG. Mr. Speaker, Mrs. Patricia Nordman of De Land, Fla., is an ardent and articulate opponent of communism, and until recently published the De Land Courier, which she dedicated to the purpose of alerting the public to the dangers of communism in America.
At Mrs. Nordman’s request, I include in the RECORD, under unanimous consent, the following “Current Communist Goals,” which she identifies as an excerpt from “The Naked Communist,” by Cleon Skousen:
CURRENT COMMUNIST GOALS
1. U.S. acceptance of coexistence as the only alternative to atomic war.
2. U.S. willingness to capitulate in preference to engaging in atomic war.
[It continues with the remaining “Communist Goals.”]
Congressional Record, Vol. 109, 88th Congress, 1st Session,Appendix Pages A1-A2842, Jan. 9-May 7, 1963.
Here’s another tip for those interested in the Congressional Record: Note the term “Extension of Remarks.” You might be interested in what the Library of Congress has to say about Extensions of Remarks.
The section in each day’s Record following the House and Senate proceedings is known as the Extensions of Remarks. This section is now used only by Members of the House to include additional legislative statements not delivered on the House floor as well as extraneous materials such as the text of speeches delivered outside Congress, letters from and tributes to constituents, and newspaper or magazine articles.
That’s right. The citation that they refer to was never read as testimony before congress. It was another bit of bullshit that a congressman put into the record to placate an anti-communist constituent and highlight his own sense of patriotic nationalism.
The really strange part is that you’ll find no such list in the original version of The Naked Communist by W. Cleon Skousen. The author discusses these goals in his book, but someone else created the list from his work.
Here’s the beginning of the Wikipedia entry for Skousen:
Willard Cleon Skousen (January 20, 1913 – January 9, 2006) was an American author, conservative American constitutionalist and faith-based political theorist. He was also a prolific popularizer among Latter-day Saints (Mormons) (LDS) of their theology. A notable anti-communist and supporter of the John Birch Society, Skousen’s works involved a wide range of subjects including the Six-Day War, Mormon eschatology, New World Order conspiracies, and parenting. His most popular works are The 5,000 Year Leap and The Naked Communist. A book by Skousen on end times prophecy, The Cleansing of America, was published by Valor Publishing Group in 2010, four years after his death.
If you’d like an interesting read about Skousen and how Glenn Beck came to worship his words, check out Meet the man who changed Glenn Beck’s life by Alexander Zaitchik. Zaitchik’s article is subtitled, “Cleon Skousen was a right-wing crank whom even conservatives despised. Then Beck discovered him.” Let’s just say that I think Alexander is being kind with that description.
I frequently share posts from Ed Brayton’s blog with my followers on Twitter. If the subject of Ed’s posts have accounts on Twitter, I like to include their account when I share the links. This was my tweet [please excuse my doubled ‘and.’]:
Did Mr. Rush (or whomever manages his Twitter presence) see my tweet? Indeed, they did. Was there any mention of refuting my accusations of ignorance and insanity? See for yourself:
That’s right. He thanked me for “free publicity” (There’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?) Then he calls me a “reetard,”, which I can only assume is a misspelling of “retard.” Yes, Erik Rush went for the R word.
I have some friends on Twitter who are working very hard at curbing the use of that word. I know there are many more who do the same. I felt the need to let the world know how Erik Rush thinks of people who aren’t just like him.
Of course, my own words would no longer reach Mr. Rush. You see, he also took the expedient step of blocking my account from his Twitter feed.
I have no doubts at all that Erik Rush’s crazy diatribes about the Obama in his head, and the Reds under his bed, will continue. It would be completely laughable for but one reason: Some people take him seriously.]]>
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Along with many of you, I have read several articles about "proxy hacking" and other issues related to the need to verify the source of user agents purporting to be a known search engine spider. For those of you unfamiliar with such problems, "proxy hacking" involves routing a bot through a proxy server in order to get to your site. Page ranking associated with your site could then be transferred to the URL of the proxy server. Other issues involve browsers or bots masquerading as a known search engine spider for any purpose.
After reading some of these articles, I decided to do something to protect my site. What is there to fear? Proxy hacking can be a legitimate concern. As for the matter of simple masquerading; if you enter my establishment while flashing a fake I.D., it makes me think you’re up to something.
The means of identification that has been most often noted as being the most effective, even by the search engines themselves, is a two step process. First, perform a reverse-DNS lookup of the purported bot’s IP address. If the host name returned does not match the domain to which the bot belongs, then it has failed the test. If the resulting host name is, indeed, in the domain associated with the bot, then you perform a forward DNS to IP lookup to determine if that host name is actually associated with the IP address where the request originated.
This method has been described by Matt Cutts in an article entitled How to verify Googlebot on the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog. Matt also makes note of MSN approving the same method for MSNbot, and Ask Jeeves doing the same for their Teoma bot in MSFT adds bot verification, an article on his blog.
The Yahoo! Search Blog has an article entitled Yahoo! Search Crawler, Slurp, has a new Address and Signature Card where they state:
Once you have the host name (in this case, lj612134.crawl.yahoo.net), you can then check if it really is coming from Yahoo! Search. The name of all Yahoo! Search crawlers will end with ‘crawl.yahoo.net,’ so if the name doesn’t end with this, you know it’s not really our crawler.
Ask.com has roughly the same advice on their About Ask.com: Webmasters page, where they state:
A User-Agent is no guarantee of authenticity as it is trivial for a malicious user to mimic the properties of the Ask Crawler. In order to properly authenticate the Ask Crawler, a round trip DNS lookup is required. This involves first taking the IP address of the Ask Crawler and performing a reverse DNS lookup ensuring that the IP address belongs to the ask.com domain. Then perform a forward DNS lookup with the host name ensuring that the resulting IP address matches the original.
MSN, not to be left out, has on their page Live Search: Search robots in disguise the following:
Once you have the host name (in this case, livebot-207-46-98-149.search.live.com), you can check that it really is coming from Live Search. The name of all live search crawlers will end with ‘search.live.com’. If the name doesn’t end with ‘search.live.com’, you know it’s not really our crawler.
Finally, you need to verify that the name is accurate. In order to do this, you can use Forward DNS to see the IP address associated with the host name. This should match the IP address you used in Step 2 — if it doesn’t, it means the name was fake.
The method is valid, and it works… most of the time. When does it not work? When the search engine company doesn’t have their DNS set up properly. “What’s that?” you say, “How can you accuse the likes of Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and Ask Jeeves of something like that?”
As I said above, I decided to do something to protect my site from fake bots. I made a nice little PHP script to perform the checks outlined by the search engine companies, and I put an include statement at the top of my site’s pages to run that piece of code. Bots that weren’t who they said they were received a 503 HTTP status code (service unavailable). Everyone else got the regular page.
I had set up the PHP script to keep a log of all requests that were sent the 503 status page. I tested the function using an online testing service that let me choose the user agent. Testing was also done using a user agent switcher in Firefox. The script seemed to function properly, and the results in the log file were as expected.
When I checked the log file, I also checked the IP addresses from the command line on my local computer, just to verify that things were working properly. I noticed some strange results. A request from a user agent claiming to be MSNbot came from the IP address 184.108.40.206 on 15 September. The reverse DNS result from that address pointed to the name
bl1sch2041711.phx.gbl. For those of you familiar with official TLDs, you will notice that .gbl is not a recognized name.
Just what is going on here? It appears that Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, have the inverse-address settings of one or more blocks of IP addresses set to point to a domain name that does not exist for the outside world. Wait a minute, didn’t MSN just say, "Once you have the host name (in this case, livebot-207-46-98-149.search.live.com), you can check that it really is coming from Live Search. The name of all live search crawlers will end with ‘search.live.com’. If the name doesn’t end with ‘search.live.com’, you know it’s not really our crawler."? It seems that this isn’t correct in the real world.
Microsoft, however, is not the only group that does not live up to their own published standards.
The following day, a hit from 220.127.116.11 is entered in the log file. It comes from Yahoo! Slurp China, and is on the domain name
inktomisearch.com, a domain which Yahoo! claims to have stopped using for Slurp.
A few days later, a bot claiming to be Ask Jeeves/Teoma comes from 18.104.22.168. This address resolved to a host in the
directhit.com domain. This domain is owned by Ask Jeeves, but their bot is not supposed to be coming from that domain. As far as I know, they don’t even use it at all. I used the ask.com contact form to let them know about this one, and it has now been changed to the ask.com domain. They did, however, neglect to respond to my query in any other way, like maybe a note to say “Thanks, we missed that one.”
Another hit from Ask Jeeves came from 22.214.171.124, which resolves to
g2spf.jeeves.ask.info. This is a legitimate domain owned by Ask Jeeves, but it still isn’t the domain they said Teoma would be coming from.
A hit from 126.96.36.199 claimed to be MSNbot. This IP address has no inverse address set at all. The IP block, however, is owned by Microsoft. The address 188.8.131.52 also has no inverse address set. This IP block belongs to Google. Once again, they just aren’t playing fair.
No, we don\’t live in a perfect world. It would be nice, though, if people would go just that extra step further to make sure that mistakes which are pointed out to them are resolved (as Ask Jeeves apparently did). The phx.gbl issue has been around for years, and Microsoft (as far as I know) has no intention of making any changes in this regard.
So, what do I do now? I’ve made some changes in my script as I see more results in my log files. It’s getting better, and one of these days I will publish the PHP code here for the benefit of others. It would all be so much easier if the bot owners would keep their DNS practices up to par.]]>