Category Archives: Current Events

The Good Shepard

John 10:14-16 (CJB) 14 I am the good shepherd; I know my own, and my own know me— 15 just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father—and I lay down my life on behalf of the sheep. 16 Also I have other sheep which are not from this pen; I need to bring them, and they will hear my voice; and there will be one flock, one shepherd.

The Cartwheel Galaxy from Hubble

Image Credit: ESA, NASA, Hubble

Explanation: To some, it looks like the wheel of a cart. In fact, because of its outward oval appearance, the presence of a central galaxy, and their connection with what looks like the spokes of a wheel, the galaxy on the right is known as the Cartwheel Galaxy. To others, however, it looks like a complicated interaction between galaxies awaiting explanation. Along with the two galaxies on the left, the Cartwheel is part of a group of galaxies about 400 million light years away in the constellation Sculptor. The large galaxy’s rim spans over 100,000 light years and is composed of star forming regions filled with extremely bright and massive stars. Pictured, the Cartwheel’s ring-like shape is the result of gravitational disruption caused by a smaller galaxy passing through a large one, compressing the interstellar gas and dust and causing a star formation wave to move out like a ripple across the surface of a pond.

We need a Stargate!

Congress railed on the maker of EpiPen


Heather Bresch, the CEO of Mylan — which makes the EpiPen — is testifying in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about the drug’s price after an hourlong delay. The price of the device, used in emergencies to treat severe allergic reactions, has increased more than 500% since Mylan acquired it in 2007. A two-pack of the EpiPen now has a list price of $608. In her prepared testimony released ahead of the hearing, Bresch gave background on Mylan as a company and addressed some of the controversy around the rising price.
– read it all here Business Insider

Securing Phones and Securing Us


The moral of the story? It’s not, as the FBI has been requesting, a bill to make it easier to access encrypted communications, as in the proposed revised Burr-Feinstein bill. Such “solutions” would make us less secure, not more so. Instead we need to increase law enforcement’s capabilities to handle encrypted communications and devices. This will also take more funding as well as redirection of efforts. Increased security of our devices and simultaneous increased capabilities of law enforcement are the only sensible approach to a world where securing the bits, whether of health data, financial information, or private emails, has become of paramount importance.
– via Lawfare

How to add ftp scanner accounts to OS X machine

This was done on El Capitan. It’s all done via the below bash script. Save this to a file, and run it as sudo.

This is for IT folks obviously. The one caveat is that the password is randomly generated at run time, so you have to look at the output. The password is generated with “apg” which is not included with OS X. I installed it via brew.

Warning: There seems to be a bug in El Capitan (10.11.4) and many previous releases. If finder opens a directory, and after that someone ftp uploads a file, Finder does not see the new files. It has cached everything in the directory and doesn’t update again. The only solution we have found to this is a “killall Finder”. This relaunches finder. It reopens the window, and sees all the files then. You have to repeat each time you open the directory and files seem to be missing. It’s quite frustrating.

Controversial Study About Superstorms, Dramatic Sea Level Rise Now Revised And Peer Reviewed: Now What?

Despite ongoing efforts by national governments to reduce the impact of global warming, climate experts warn that the Earth is set to experience some of the most dramatic environmental changes over the next few years, including widespread melting of polar ice sheets, superstorms and a significant increase in sea level enough to sink many of the world’s coastal cities.

When retired NASA climate scientist James E. Hansen and colleagues first came out with their initial findings on climate change last year, they said that unless the current pace at which people burn fossil fuels changes as soon as possible, the world is bound to experience an abrupt climate shift.

They said that while efforts have been made to curb greenhouse gas emissions globally, they are not occurring fast enough to help the planet steer clear of potential environmental risks.

The study triggered a heated debate in the scientific community, with some arguing that Hansen and his team’s findings should have undergone peer review first before they were released. They also contested the rate of sea level rise mentioned in the draft report.

Read the full story:

Why You Should Care About Apple’s Fight With the FBI


After the San Bernardino shootings, the FBI seized the iPhone used by shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. The FBI has a warrant to search the phone’s contents, and because it was Farook’s work phone, the FBI also has permission from the shooter’s employer, the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, to search the device. Legally, the FBI can and should search this phone. That’s not up for debate. If the FBI gets a warrant to search a house and the people who own it say okay, there’s no ambiguity about whether it can search the house.

But if the FBI comes across a safe in that house, the warrant and permission do not mean it can force the company that manufactures the safe to create a special tool for opening its safes, especially a tool that would make other safes completely useless as secure storage. That’s the situation that Apple’s dealing with here.

The FBI obtained an order from a California district court asking Apple for assistance cracking Farook’s passcode. The court order doesn’t flat-out demand that Apple unlock the phone, which is an iPhone 5s running iOS 9. Instead, the judge is asking Apple to create a new, custom, terrorist-phone-specific version of its iOS software to help the FBI unlock the phone. Security researcher Dan Guido has a great analysis of why it is technically possible for Apple to comply and create this software. (It would not be if Farook had used an iPhone 6, because Apple created a special security protection called the Secure Enclave for its newer phones that cannot be manipulated by customizing iOS.)

The fight isn’t over whether Apple can comply in this case. It’s whether it should.


Essentially, if Apple does what the court has ordered, nothing stops them (the government) from reusing this “tool” on any iPhone that it wishes without court permission. They have a back door into the iPhone, where they have been shut out for years. Thats the issue as I understand it. I’m all for prosecuting felons and terrorists, but not at the expense of my privacy and the court oversite the constitution requires.

Nine displaced in three separate fires on frigid Valentine’s Day night

WORCESTER – Fires ripped through three homes Sunday – the city’s coldest day in 59 years – displacing nine people, taxing frigid firefighters and equipment but not leading, officials said, to the loss of any human life.
“Fantastic job,” Deputy Chief John F. Sullivan said at 2:20 a.m. Monday, as firefighters behind him – their beards frozen, their helmets draped in icicles – continued to pour water on the last blaze. “Make sure you tell ‘em that.”