To John McCain – a humble tribute to a warrior, a statesman, a real American Hero

When you see the “real deal”, the person who can withstand damn near anything, and still do the “right thing” under fire.

It is humbling. Thank you Sir.

Under the wide and starry sky, Dig the grave and let me lie. Glad did I live and gladly die, And I laid me down with a will. This be the verse you grave for me: Here he lies where he longed to be; Home is the sailor, home from sea, And the hunter home from the hill.

– Requiem by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Peaceful, non-violent protests are as American as Apple Pie

I have not served. I am from a family of Veterans, grew up on Army bases all over as an Army Brat. My Dad was a Marine, then joined the Army and served as a Sgt and Medic in action Vietnam.

This view of the importance of non-violent protest is mine and I’m speaking for myself only. But as for me? Ya, I’d much rather see a player respectfully take a knee to draw attention to a great injustice, than become radicalized and violent against our brave men and women in uniform.

I’m an economic conservative in many ways, but maybe more progressive on social issues. That whole “equality” thing. I don’t know Beto’s stance on economic policy but it can’t be worse than the massive increase in the deficit we just observed.

This video by Beto, who is running against Cruz in Texas, where every major city voted democrat in the last Presidential election, is persuasive.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/ted-cruz-beto-orourke-nfl-players-texas-funding-kneeling-hollywood-fundraising-a8506961.html

It’s worth a read.

I’ve volunteered with the Republican Party, voted in primaries in both parties, done web sites and supported candidates in both parties as well as independents.

You, dear candidates and public servants, are elected to serve and represent. You didn’t join a cult. You can’t just ignore us!

As for my long time friend and former client, Rep-R John Culberson. You did great getting I-10 moving.

However John, as for your Hurricane Harvey response – it was a fail. No action, no push for more Federal Response, no fast and immediate solutions. Campaign flyers won’t change this.

Remember, I still live in 77079. We have been forgotten and the brain drain is REAL. Where is our third Reservoir? Why hasn’t the south side of Buffalo Bayou been expanded. The water has to retain SOMEWHERE with every overpass functioning as a bottleneck.

Why haven’t Kikkerilo’s McMansions been removed through eminent domain and action taken aligned with the numerous (even the original) flood plans.

Senator Cruz did nothing either that we can SEE. He’s busy with the NYC businessman’s drama as far as I can tell.

Paul Ryan, PAUL RYAN!, is stepping down. That’s how bad it is.

Co-Living

If part of your life and work require travel, co-living is a great trend.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/08/23/co-living-millennials-san-jose-what-works-219378?cid=apn

Ask anyone who travels for work. Most will say being alone and away from family and their support network is the hardest part. (Besides really uncomfortable airplane seats.)

From the article on co-living:

What Cannon had stumbled upon was actually a burgeoning trend in rental housing that had begun to shake up cities most popular with millennials. It’s called “co-living,” and it’s attempting to rewrite the exasperating and paycheck-crushing hassle of finding a decent place to live near the place where you work.

to sow chaos and divide Americans

From the article on Putin winning /over/ Trump: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/08/01/russia-recruit-americans-mariia-butina-spy-intelligence-219079?cid=apn

“And here was the bonus for Russia: So what if Butina did get caught? The ultimate aim of the entire operation was to sow chaos and divide Americans in order to weaken the West, thus allowing Russia to pursue its agenda on the world stage. Now, half the country yells that the Republican Party was infiltrated by Russia, while the other half yells that it’s fake news and hyperbole. The payoff for Russia is still great, and they can now use Butina’s incarceration to continue to push their agenda of dividing the nation. There was no downside for Russia.”

We are being played. And we, so far, haven’t shown the ability to respond to a queens pawn opening. Never mind the abandonment of teamwork with our allies.

This is frustrating. I trust our political system will self correct. That’s what it designed to do.

Stay peaceful. Stay vocal. Celebrate the positive outcomes regardless of your party.***

*** I’m an independent. A POLS BS from TAMU. I have voted in primaries for both parties at different times. I have volunteered for candidates in both parties. Because that’s Houston y’all. We ain’t got no time for stupid or bigots – we have work to do. Help, be fair, or get the hell out the way while we actually build stuff.

We are under attack. Thank you for noticing.

This is a great pull quote. It’s just from the wrong year. Let’s say … um … by 2013 it was obvious.

“The warning lights are blinking red again,” Mr. Coats said as he cautioned of cyberthreats. “Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack.”

– Dan Coates, Director of National Security

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/13/us/politics/dan-coats-intelligence-russia-cyber-warning.html

Wendi Winters was a brave person who defined courage

This is what a hero looks like. Running at an active shooter with a trash can as a shield to save others.

Wendi Winters, victim of Annapolis Capital Gazette shooting, rushed at gunman (with a trash can shield)

Wendi Winters stood as soon as she heard the bangs.A man with a gun had broken the glass doors leading to the newsroom of the Capital Gazette and was shooting at her colleagues, many of whom dropped to the floor or dove under their desks. Not Winters.

Grabbing the trash can and recycling bin she kept by her desk, she ran toward the man and yelled at him to stop — distracting him long enough to allow some of her colleagues to escape. Of the 11 people in the room that day, six survived.

#forgotten Hurricane Harvey and Houston

Ever wonder what it looks like to be in the eye of a slow moving hurricane? This is what it looked like during Hurricane Harvey in 2017 in Houston.

You know you’re ‘effed when, given I am registered as a Drone Pilot, we were grounded for four days. Because the sky is full of rescue helicopters.

Other images I took during Hurricane Harvey, most actually, I’ve never published.

I bring this up because we’ve done very little to improve Houston’s flooding problem. Except study it.

I’d just moved my primary location (I still travel of course) back from SF to Houston several weeks prior.

Awesome timing, I know, right?!

And yet I’m not sure our governor even remembers hurricane Harvey. Please drive down Bramblewood and let’s talk about “brain drain” and the economy of the country.

I’ve seen little if any action from our Congressmen or Mayor.

Eyes on the ground in 77079, the one’s who were specifically flooded and were saved by citizens from so many places who drove in with bass boats and air boats, but not much help from city, state, or dc.

This is what it looks like to be forgotten. To smile at your friends house, still half completed, while both of you have the same anxiety – they’ve done nothing to fix it. And now it’s hurricane season again.

I see no humor in it.

lexdexia untie

There is a social stigma with learning disabilities. People tend to believe, perhaps because they were taught, that dyslexia means someone “reads” the sequence “az” and sees “za”. Like it’s a problem with your eyes. I don’t believe this to be the case.

Perhaps the fallacy stems from the fact that while “walk” means the same observable behavior for everyone, “read” isn’t conducted the same way in our brains for all of us. (I dunno as I’m not qualified to answer that question. I’m just a curious person.)

Yet quite a few things in this article on dyslexia are spot on for me. https://www.wired.com/story/end-of-dyslexia/

Russian Ads on FB Released

From the article on Dark Reading regarding the Russian interference in the election of 2016.:

 … the House Intelligence Committee have shared more details of Russia’s interference in the 2016 US Presidential Election with the release of 3,000 Facebook ads. The ads, purchased by Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA), ran from 2015 to 2017.

Committee members this week released a total of 3,519 ads and stated more than 11.4 million Americans were exposed to them. The IRA also created 470 Facebook pages, which generated 80,000 pieces of organic content and were seen by more than 126 million Americans, the Committee reports. It plans to release this organic content at a later date.

Fairly audacious. One question to ponder. Have you ever heard of a company or government pushing a message out using one (and only 1) channel? Of course not. It will be good when their MSM advertising buys are exposed.

Primary voting reg deadline Monday Feb 7, 2018

You must register to vote in the party primaries by tomorrow.

From an email from our Houston district rep Culberson:

“If you were displaced by Hurricane Harvey, like my brother and his wife, and you have temporarily moved until you can repair your house, your voter registration may have been suspended because the Post Office is prohibited from forwarding our new voter registration cards.  You are still registered, but you will need to fill out a Certificate of Residency form, which you can print from this link, and give it to the Election Judge so you can vote in your home precinct.”

First – do what John says. Vote in the primaries NOW.

Further:

Register as a Republican if you are in Texas. Seriously. You can vote for whoever you want in the actual election.

But as y’all know, human-ballot-robots will just click a party-line-vote.

Yes, sure they are smart people. But smart is a dime a dozen and few have the time to research. Thus lacking the discipline to study and gain knowledge on the candidates themselves, they click a party (the party of the North in the “War Between the States” if you are curious) and then walk out.

Bottom line:

Voting in the Texas primaries matters because most voters in Texas straight-line party vote like robots for the carpet-bagger party. (Google it. History is good for you.)

Example: despite every major city in Texas voting Blue in the last Presidential election, despite the terrible options given to us by both parties, there are still the rural voters who straight party line vote. I know they are smart.

I’m was privileged to be an Aggie myself, I studied POLS at TAMU which required critical thinking. I believe I am qualified to speak to this topic.

I have voted in primaries for both parties over the years. (So what? I’m pro-America and pro-Earth) I volunteered for Bush 41’s re-election campaign. I volunteered in support of Mayor Bill White. I supported Mayor Annise Parker. I’ve volunteered (at great personal expense) to support Congressman Culberson in DC when he was on the cutting edge of tech and they we’re blocking his push for the latest tech.

To be clear, John is a good man. I first met him because we went to the same Church (MDUMC) in the Energy Corridor in West Houston. Our kids we’re in different Sunday School classes that all of us volunteered to teach.

Action Items:

Register as a Republican and pick your next Rep. Because the actual vote won’t matter in Texas state level elections.

Congressman John Culberson is a friend, was a long time client, and I like what he says in person. Yet I don’t like that some DC dorks and K-street absorbed him into party line votes.

Davey Crockett would, actually he did, die fighting for our rights. But DC can consume a person apparently. I still have hope for John as a leader. Right now every time I read a roll call vote summary in the Chronicle I’m kinda disappointed to see party/pac money “trumps” representative leadership. (We want you back John!)

To repeat – go vote in the primaries. If you aren’t registered with a party then tomorrow is the deadline in Texas.

Note: I’m from the party of George Washington. (Google it)

As an independent, I have no problem voting in either primary, and I have, in a nation that has distorted the electoral college and gerrymandered districts like schoolyard bullies. (I’m looking at you Tom Delay.)

Triangulate Shooter Location with Mobile App – Possible?

Text exchange with a friend about how to defend crowds from threats like the shooter in Las Vegas.

[redacted section]




Yup, saving the world, or trying to, one bear at a time.

Triangulating on a sound with data from thousands of willing opt-in smart phones is possible. Pitch, yaw, acceleration, relative volume compared to those in proximity to normalize. Calculate position from last known good if towers go out.

Mesh grid relative to each other if no service. Share UDP 5353 and change multicast DNS into a “people finder”.

The app, when turned on, would send a cascade of data flowing in with lots of noise. The analysis is the same thing anyone who has done log analysis with an ELK stack is familiar with. Have a buffer of say 10 seconds backwards until triggered.

With a few datasets from simulations (like having 30 people in a room and see if the app can figure out who blew the dog whistle.

Sensor based smart phone triangulation is one way we could defend ourselves in an attack on any soft target.

Note: the concept is somewhat related to what we are building at somarobotics.com. However I’m putting it out there because I’d love to see someone build a system to automatically respond and help.

Even if we lived in a color-blind society

From the article:
 
“Here’s the thing: Even if we lived in a color-blind society, that would be a dangerous sentiment. After all, freedom of expression is right there in the First Amendment. And our brave soldiers didn’t fight and die so that everyone stood during the national anthem. They fought so people could have the right to make a choice about whether or not they wanted to stand. That’s the whole damn point of the First Amendment.”
 

some bi-partisan good news – uptick in crime is a bump in overall decline

We get plenty of bad news so let’s talk about crime trends again. From the article:

Using the FBI numbers, the (crime) rate fell 50% between 1993 and 2015, the most recent full year available. Using the BJS data, the rate fell by 77% during that span.

Click the image below for actual facts about crime in America (And here’s something to listen to while reading to make it more dramatic.)

Pew Research on Crime Decline in US

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/21/5-facts-about-crime-in-the-u-s/ 

More from the article:

Property crime has declined significantly over the long term. Like the violent crime rate, the U.S. property crime rate today is far below its peak level. FBI data show that the rate fell 48% between 1993 and 2015, while BJS reports a decline of 69% during that span.

and then there is the disparity created by the advertising supported media that influences our brains. We are gullible.

Public perceptions about crime in the U.S. often don’t align with the data. Opinion surveys regularly find that Americans believe crime is up, even when the data show it is down.

Although it’s not all good.

Many crimes are not reported to police. In its annual survey, BJS asks victims of crime whether or not they reported that crime to police. In 2015, the most recent year available, only about half of the violent crime tracked by BJS (47%) was reported to police.

Bottom line? Stay thirsty for the facts my friends. We can’t always drink the kool aid. Or the same thing. Stay thirsty for knowledge because knowledge is power.

There is no media really, only advertisers selling scary stories in the media. People Tweet alt-official-news, fake news or real news alike. So I think it’s healthy to point out (again) a few positive overall societal trends we are experiencing.

#peace