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Thursday, November 30, 2006

The ATM system is under attack

There is an article at MSNBC NEWS that shows just how vulnerable the system that banks use to access ATM machines really is. Apparently, the organized crime network has found a way of hacking into the third party computers in the network and attempting to trick them into divulging customer's PIN numbers.

The banking industry acknowledges that there is a flaw in the system, but tends to downplay the threat. But they have always been slow to repond to changing environments and the threat is real. Any onewith access to the ATM network can use this method to print phoney debit cards and steal untold amounts of cash.
Any attack made using this method would seriously compromise the banking network and cause huge amounts of chaos not just in the U.S. but around the entire world. And , since it would like the bank's customers were withdrawing frome their own accounts, any complaint that money was stolen would be seen as crazy. The bank would not be able to tell the difference.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Some silly pictures

I was looking for content for the blog and found these pictures and thought they were kind of silly but with a serious message. I hope they are enjoyed.

The Beechcraft Starship was an aircraft ahead of it's time

Now, that was one sweet looking airplane. Who says that there is only one way an airplane should be built. Look at aircraft like the Wright Flyer and you will see that this is the first way aircraft were built.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Her death was sad, but the accident was so stupid

There was just no excuse for this accident to happen. If this girl had slowed down for this turn, she would have been able to negotiate this s-curve so easily. I myself have been over that section of road many times in the past and not have had a problem. It aws the combination of just going too fast and not paying attention to the road that caused such a needless death in someone who otherwise was a very talented young person. Here is the story of what happened.
Teen dies in 1-car crash
Tonya Rose Dams, 2005 West Ottawa graduate, died Saturday, her brother was injuredBy ANDREA GOODELL Staff writer


A 19-year-old Park Township woman is dead and her brother injured after she lost control of her car along Lakeshore Drive south of Quincy Street Saturday afternoon.

Tonya Rose Dams was driving south on Lakeshore Drive in Park Township around noon Saturday when her 1994 Saturn four-door dropped off the shoulder, said Ottawa County Sheriff's Office Lt. Steve Kempker. She attempted to bring the car back on the road, but lost control, he said.

Dams was pronounced dead on the scene, officials said. Her brother, Brandon Lee Dams, 18, was transported to Holland Hospital by AMR Ambulance with head and other injuries. He was out of the emergency room and in stable condition Saturday night.

Their mother, Kathy Dams, was at her son's bedside. She was numb and focused on her son's care, but was also quick to talk about her daughter.

"She was an incredible girl, incredible," Kathy Dams said. "Anyone who knew her or came in contact with her loved her."

She described her daughter's personality as bubbly and said Tonya Dams hugged everyone she knew.

"She taught me a lot," Kathy Dams said, pausing behind tears. "She taught me how to be a better person and she wasn't finished yet."

Tonya Dams graduated from West Ottawa High School in 2005. She was a cheerleader and was still in contact with friends from the squad, her mother said.

She was also an artist, a member of the Holland Friends of Art and in her second year at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids.

Her work has been shown at Art in the Park, during Tulip Time, at the Ottawa County Fair, Freedom Village and on the campus of Calvin College.

Her great-grandmother, Elinor Burns, was an inspiration to Tonya Dams. Some of Burns' work hangs at Holland Hospital, where Brandon Dams was being treated. Brandon Dams graduated from West Ottawa High School this year.

"There's a purpose for God to take her now and there's a purpose for God to leave Brandon on this earth," Kathy Dams said. "We just don't know what it is."

She said her daughter's mantra was : "Whatever I do in art is what God has put through me."
"If there were more people like her there wouldn't be the wars, the hatred. She just left too early. The world has lost a precious soul."

Brandon and Tonya Dams, their mother said, were the best of friends.
"They adore each other," she said.

The two were on their way to play a Frisbee-style game when the accident occurred, she said.
When Tonya Dams attempted to bring her vehicle back on the road, police reports said, the car slid onto its side. The car's roof hit a cluster of trees and was ripped from the vehicle. It was thrown 15 to 20 feet away.

The brother and sister were pinned in the car. Park Township firefighters extracted them.
An AeroMed helicopter was called, but was canceled after Brandon Dams was stable enough to be transported by ambulance.

Both were wearing their seat belts, Kempker said.
The crash remains under investigation.
As I said, I have been on that stretch of road many times without incident. This just shows what happens when some one just does not pay attention to what they are doing. This whole accident was so easy to avoid. How irresponsible the young could be.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

More reasons why cell phones and school do not mix

In an article in Kten.com, I saw this story. It involves a student who did not have the disclipline to turn off his cell phone during class, and when it rang during class, the teacher in question acted within his rights and confiscated the cell phone. When his parents got him the cell phone, they should have asked the school what their policy is regarding cell phone use during school hours. That way, he would have known to turn his cell phone off during class. The story is as follows.
Parents Battle School Officials Over Cell Phone

Charges of larceny against two Carter County school officials have been sent to the district attorney's office for consideration of prosecution. Parents of a Lone Grove High School student say the superintendent and the high school principal will not release property that belongs to them. KTEN's Andrea Kurys has the story.

The property in question is a cell phone. The parents say they the phone back, but they were forced to file a complaint after school officials refused return the cell phone.

The cell phone was confiscated from the student last week after it rang in the middle of class. The teacher thought the ringing of the phone interrupted the classwork, and took the phone to the principal's office. When the student's parents went to the school to get it back, they were told it was school policy to hold the phone for five days. The mother of the student, Yvonne Walker, was upset because she says the phone is used in case of an emergency.

"He's 16, he's got a new job and I worry about him on the road," said Walker. "His father worries about him on the road, he's supposed to contact us."

Mr. Walker said, "That's why I got the cell phone for him. For his protection and for him to stay in touch with me and it's not doing him or me a bit of good if the school has it."

Walker says she was treated with disrespect by the principal and the superintendent. She contacted the Lone Grove police department, who sent an officer to the school. Captain Scott Lang said, "I attempted to get the situation resolved, couldn't reach a resolution to it. I ended up having to do a report on it."

That report was sent to the District Attorney's office for consideration of larceny charges against the school officials. The student's parents say the situation could have been resolved much easier.

"I understand that they need to discipline the kids and he was wrong, and he understands that he was wrong and he should be disciplined at home, and we will do that," said Ms. Walker.

"I want the policy changed for any student, any parent," said Mr. Walker. "They should have the right to come pick up their cell phone. The superintendent says he's just following school policy."
If his parents need to contact him during school hours, I am sure that the school has avenues to facilitate that, for emergencies. If it is not an emergency, they could always leave a message on his voice mail. You should read the rest of my blog to see my position on using cell phones while driving a car.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Cause and Effect

The epidemic of obesity and over-weight can be summed up like this. I would definitely have to say that laziness is both the cause and the effect of obesity. I see this phenomenon every day. The laziness rears it's ugly head when it comes to the best time to get some exercise. That is on the trips to and from work and running errands. If the weather permits, take the time to walk or ride a bicycle instead of driving a car. Not only would this be great exercise, it would cut down on your gasoline bill (and not to mention our payments to the terrorists through the sale of oil).
You don't even have to go to a gym to do this. How hard can it be? Just get off your butt and pick up a pair of dumbbells. They can be bought at any local sporting goods or department store. Resistance bands will work just fine.
All you have to do is stop making excuses for yourself. Stop telling yourself that you are too overweight to get some exercise. The lack of exercise is what caused you to be overweight in the first place. If you don't have time in your schedule, make time, if this is important to you! In the end, you will feel better about yourself.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Great Circle of Life

Somebody once said that the general public has no place telling big business what to do. That could not be farther from the truth. We have seen this with antitrust cases brought against large corporations, namely Wal-mart and Microsoft. These large corporate bodies seem to conveniently forget that it is from the pockets of the American consumers where they get their money. Money doesn't grow on trees. It is on the pockets of the general public they have been able to grow their businesses, hence The Great Circle of Life.
When giant corporations like Enron and Worldcom think that they are above the law and don't hold themselves accountable, that is when they basically shoot themselves in the foot. Both companies defrauded their investors, the above mentioned general public, out of millions of dollars and in the process lost our trust. They showed that corporate America is full of those who lie, cheat, and steal from their fellow Americans just to get ahead.
And, last but not least in The Great Circle of Life, are the countries who openly support terrorism. Where do they get their money? For the most part, from the American public!
That's right. When you buy gas at the gas station, over 40% of what you pay at the pump goes for the price of oil. Most of that oil comes from third world countries who funnel a large um of that money goes to support groups that would kill the very same customers that support the economies of those who support terrorism in the first place. How stupid could you get?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cell phones and schools don't mix

Within the last few months, many schools, including my former high school, West Ottawa High School, have caved in to the requests of students and their parents regarding the issue of cell phones on school grounds. Previously, the policy was to ban cell phones from school grounds. That seems to have changed in the time since. I found an article at WCSH6.COM that I feel deals with the subject and the fears of educators concerning the possibility for the use of text messaging to cheat on tests.
Cell Phones Create Dispruption In Schools

There is more than just school bells ringing at high schools in Maine these days. Cell phones are attached to almost every teenager, and school administrators say it disrupts learning.

Many schools are combating the disruption from the ringing cell phones by banning them from the classroom or making the students turn them off. Some administrators say it's a hard line to walk though. They want to make sure students aren't making calls or texting exam answers, while still being able to utilize phones for safety purposes in the case of an emergency.
"When we take a look at that situation, wow, that was the only communication we had with the school, that had cell phones. I see there is a usefulness to cell phones and there's also a disrutption to the educational process. We have to walk that tight wire," said Bruce Bailey, the Orono High School Principal.
Other schools in the area that don't allow students to use cell phones during school are Hampden, Hermon and Brewer.
In my blog, I have mentioned many educator's concerns about the possible use of cell phones to cheat on tests (see here). The previous post also mentions the security risks involved with using picture phones for sending test answers. I believe the only answer to this problem is to ban cell phone use from school grounds.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Keep paying the terrorists and they will always be around to hate us

It seems to me that we, as a nation, seem to like giving money to the very people who hate us and would like to do nothing but see us wiped of the face of the earth. We speed on the highway like there is no tomorrow, even though we know that higher speeds use more gasoline. We buy vehicles that are bigger then we really need, even though there are smaller, more fuel efficient cars and trucks that will meet our needs perfectly well.
The car manufacturers know this. They push upon us the misconception that we need that truck that only gets 12 mpg. They know they can make cars and trucks that get better gas mileage without sacrificing the high performance that we have come to like so much.
And where is all that money for gasoline going? It goes to the very same people that hate our way of life and wish to destroy us. Now, we do have our own oil reserves. But we seem to have this mentality that we don't want to have these huge oil derricks in our back yards. The oil has to come from somewhere. And it comes from the Middle East.
This happens to be the very same region of the world where hatred of the west in general, and the U.S in particular, has take root. Yes, our money goes into the same pockets that funnel that same money to the same terrorist groups that plot our destruction. Does this really sense? I DON'T THINK SO!!!!!!!!
If you really want to fight terrorism, just do your part. If you can, buy cars that can get that high gas mileage. Whenever you can, walk where you have to go or ride a bicycle. Modify your driving habits so that you don't use so much gas. Remind the automakers where their great fortunes come. Big business relies on the pockets of the public.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The question: to multitask or not to multitask

I found an article that asks the question: Is multitasking really more efficient? We live in a society that demands that our attention remains divided between multiple tasks all at the same time. But does that really mean that we are more efficient? When is it time to say that enough is enough?
The truth is that, as we take on more and more tasks, we actually become less efficient. If we try to do more than one or two things at once, it becomes that much harder for people to accomplish anything.
At no time is this more apparent then when someone is using a cell phone while driving a car. These are two mutually exclusive items that should be kept separate at all times. Over the years, there have been many studies done that have shown that usisng a cell phone while driving a car causes the driver to shift as much as seventy to eighty percent of their mental resources away from driving to the conversation that realistically could (and should) have gone to voice mail.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Our law enforcement community need a serious wake-up call

Here is a police chief who is not afraid to say what he thinks. In this article, Paul Goward, the former police chief for Winter Haven, Florida, hit it right on the button. Obesity is an epidemic not just with this nation but with the entire world.
We have become a society obsessed with instant gratification. But that instant gratification often comes with a rather hefty price. With the emphasis on heft.
Anyway, here is the article.
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - Police Chief Paul Goward was tired of looking around his department and seeing blubber hanging over the belts of some of his officers. So he sent out a memo exhorting the "jelly bellies" to shape up.
In the end, the department lost 190 pounds — all of them belonging to Goward. He was forced out as chief because some of his officers took offense at the memo.
The Oct. 11 memo bruised feelings on the 80-member force, drew at least one anonymous letter of complaint from officers about the chief's management style and made his department the butt of jokes about fat cops and doughnuts.
If they got their feelings hurt to the extent of `Do something about it,' then I did what I was intending to do," said an unapologetic Goward, a trim 6-footer who was forced to resign his $92,000-a-year post last week.

Some of the chief's defenders said his ouster was a big overreaction.
"He offered tremendously good advice, yet he was sacked," wrote Thomas Roe Oldt, a columnist for The Ledger of Lakeland.

In his memo, titled "Are You a Jelly Belly," the chief never singled anyone out, and apart from the title, didn't call anyone names.

Instead, he provided a list of 10 reasons police officers should be in shape. He said overweight police poorly represent the profession, poop out when chasing suspects and might have to resort to "a higher level of force" if a criminal got the upper hand in a fight. He said out-of-shape cops are a liability to the city and their families.

"Take a good look at yourself," he wrote. "If you are unfit, do yourself and everyone else a favor. See a professional about a proper diet and a fitness training program, quit smoking, limit alcohol intake and start thinking self-pride, confidence and respectability. And stop making excuses for delaying what you know you should have been doing years ago. We didn't hire you unfit and we don't want you working unfit. Don't mean to offend, this is just straight talk. I owe it to you."
Winter Haven cops must pass physical examinations to be hired but are not regularly tested for fitness thereafter.

No ban on doughnut shop visits
Goward, 60, said he is not a fitness freak, was not "asking for a department full of Arnold Schwarzeneggers here" and did not order his officers to stay away from fast-food restaurants or doughnut shops. In fact, the 36-year police veteran, who has also worked in Kansas and South Carolina, said Winter Haven's force is no less fit than the others he has served on.

David Greene, manager of the central Florida city of 30,000, said through a spokeswoman that he was too busy for an interview, but told the local newspapers the anonymous complaint letters made it clear the police department had a morale problem because of Goward's abrasive management style during his 2 1/2 years there.

"Emotions within the police department and the relationship with the police chief became raw," he told The Ledger.

Winter Haven officers contacted by The Associated Press said they were told not to talk to reporters about Goward's departure.

‘The icing on the cake’One of the anonymous complaint letters described the force as "upset to say the least" about the chief and called the "Jelly Belly" memo "the icing on the cake."
"This letter shows the type of harassment and hostile work environment we have. The chief of police is constantly 'bad talking' us in every way possible and we have had enough of his arrogance," the letter read.

Mandy Rohrbaugh, a 40-year-old nursing student and Winter Haven resident, said Goward had the right message, but perhaps could have delivered it differently.

"I think honestly our police force needs a lot of shaping up, and I think they should be fit not just when they're hired but through their time," she said.
Paul Goward did overlook one alternative to the memo. He could have given an order to get with the program. Legally, as the chief of police, that is his right.

Same story, different editors

I just had a revelation recently, one that everyone should understand but most people just don't get: You can ask the same question to three different people, but get three different answers.
Effectively, they are telling the same answer, but is it always going be worded the same?
No, it is not.
Now, does that mean that they are lying? Not really. It is like reading about the same story in different newspapers. They get most of their stories from the same source, the Associated Press. But the story is going to be edited differently. It is being told from a different point of view.
In order to get the entire story, you have to go to different sources to get information. Very many different sources. If you use only one or two, you will never get the entire endhilada. To get the rest, you have to dig deep and collect many different points of view to get the whole picture.