Monthly Archives: January 2017

Moriah Modisette: Banning cell use while driving is needed

Well, here’s a good reason for banning  cell phones  while driving is needed. It appears, in a January 5 article, that an SUV crashed into the back of another car eat full speed, which killed a five year old girl. The driver that rammed into the one in front, used Facetime while they drove.

According to a BBC article, the accident happened on a Texas road on Christmas Eve 2014. Five-year-old Moriah Modisette subsequently died. The lawsuit states that the parents – James and Bethany Modisette – were seeking damages for “the defendant’s wrongful failure to install and implement the safer, alternative design for which it sought a patent in December 2008”

The patent, which was issued by the US patent office in April 2014 aimed to lock out users while they were driving. In spite of repeated requests, there has been no statement made by Apple iPhone makers.

The driver involved in the crash – Garrett Wilhelm – drove his SUV into the back of the Modisette family’s vehicle while travelling at high speeds. Also in the BBC article, lawsuit documents said that he told police he was using FaceTime at the time of the crash and that the application was still active when police found his phone at the scene. He is facing trial on manslaughter charges in February.

There is a reason why this lawsuit isn’t frivolous. In 2008, iPhones supposedly had a feature that kept the phone from being used when the user got behind the wheel. In the United States, 46 states, including: Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers. All but 5 have primary enforcement. Of the 4 states without an all driver texting ban: 2 prohibit text messaging by novice drivers. Approximately 20 or more states and three U.S. Territories banned the use of hand held devices while driving

Wichita Falls did not allow the use of cell phones in school zones. Texas is one of the states resisting a stated wide prohibition of cell use while driving.

Sources:

Apple Being Sued Over FaceTime Car Crash Tragedy Ian Morris January 3, 2017

Apple sued over fatal ‘FaceTime crash’ January 3, 2017

I love to write about trending topics and real life experiences. I love to read and write Science Fiction and Fantasy stories dealing with parallel worlds.

WhatsApp 'Backdoor '

WhatsApp messages: Safety of encryption still under question

WhatsApp message encryption  is still under question.  The fact that messages written between users of this popular service enjoyed it because of its privacy, messages can still be read by prying eyes.

Remember the uproar over the privacy issue in the San Bernadino shooting? IPhones had additional safety features built into the phone to avoid someone seeing incriminating evidence. Yet, the FBI found its way around the First Amendment and everyone’s right to privacy, including the dead terrorists. This blogger still has her phone coded around my family just in case someone gets too nosey.

Once again, the media might be the catalyst for giving people the wrong idea concerning the safety of chatting on WhatsApp. Being able to read messages through a back door led users to Most other chat services that aren’t encrypted or as safe. Sometimes it makes this blogger wonder why the media allowed for such stupid scare tactics to occur?

My biggest concern is whether my gmail and yahoo email accounts were safe. Because the app had been compromised at yahoo for the second time my password is coded, preventing a breach. In times of war, nothing is absolute, not even the right to privacy.  In the case of the San Bernadino shooting, the FBI showed just cause in retrieving the data in the iPhone as evidence of a terrorist attack and maintained the proper warrant.

The concern over WhatsApp encrypted messages has merit. This didn’t sound so dumb to a lot of people. According to Chris Mills January 13 bog post, End-to-end encryption relies on both users having two parts of a secure key, used to encrypt and then decrypt the message. But to make sure that messages are always sent, even when the recipient is offline, Whatsapp appears to have compromised that system. According to The Guardian, “WhatsApp has the ability to force the generation of new encryption keys for offline users, unbeknown to the sender and recipient of the messages, and to make the sender re-encrypt messages with new keys and send them again for any messages that have not been marked as delivered.”

Here’s how the WhatsApp feature worked, according to Chris Smith’s January 17 blog post :

  • When a message is sent but not delivered to the recipient (you see a single tick on your sent message), WhatsApp servers will hold onto the message until it can be delivered, regardless of what happens to the receiving account.
  •  If a person — let’s call him Jay — loses a smartphone, buys a new one, or changes SIMs, but wants to keep using the same WhatsApp account, the application will warn all Jay’s contacts that their friend has changed devices, and an in-person security check might be required to verify his identity.

Now, here’s where the backdoor ‘feature’ steps in. The messages sent by all of Jay’s friends via WhatsApp will still arrive — that’s when his friends will see two ticks under their sent messages, marking the fact that the messages have been sent.

*Boelter explains that all the government has to do to spy on a specific friend of Jay’s — let’s call him Silent Bob — is to mimic  Jay’s phone using sophisticated equipment or by accessing WhatsApp’s servers. The government would then prevent the server from sending confirmation ticks to Silent Bob that his messages have been sent to Jay.

Jay, meanwhile, will not receive those messages, as they’re sent to the government’s devices. But Jay might soon realize that something is wrong with his WhatsApp app.

The gist is that Silent Bob will continue to send out messages to his friend, thinking that Jay has not seen the messages. The government would then collect that data.

In Tobias Boelter’s January 17 blog post, he stated that Facebook’s failure to acknowledge this flaw is a major concern because it allowed hackers to use this vulnerability. The collection of data  would’ve been a violation of users First Amendment right to privacy and free speech. Facebook and WhatsApp would have to keep all messages sent to an account that’s activated on a new device and prompt the senders to send them again if they want to do it. Even if it’s a hassle for the user, who sent those messages. In this case, Silent Bob’s messages that are in transit would need confirmation to be sent again to Jay.

Even though this made encrypted messages safe, it isn’t totally safe from hackers or unethical government people. Tobias Boelter showed this.

 

Sources:

Feelings Tobias Boelter’s Blog, January 17, 2017

WhatsApp vulnerability: Encryption backdoor or convenience feature? Chris Smith January 17, 2017

Whatsapp bug allows viewing of encrypted messages Chris Mills January 13, 2017

I love to write about trending topics and real life experiences. I love to read and write Science Fiction and Fantasy stories dealing with parallel worlds.

Possible cancer link discovered in palm oil

Nutella’s cancer link to palm oil unfounded by report

Nutella, the popular chocolate, nutty spread, now has links to cancer thanks to palm oil. Before anyone panics, here is the information found by this blogger. Most of the problem with this spread and the cancer concern has to do with children, aged 3 and under. This blogger might think that the report is unfounded.

While processed foods aren’t good for anyone, this group has underdeveloped immune systems. Most of the trouble came from refining foods at high tempertures, usually above 200 degrees Celcius, which causes these free radicals to exist in foods like margarine and other oils. One of the problems with this eight month old report is that the powers that be didn’t set a safe level of the cancer causing agent that had everyone so afraid. That didn’t stop one of the largest food chains in Italy from pulling the spread from it’s shelves. Acccording to the article from The Huffington Post, more research is needed to determine how bad the cancer threat really is.

Nutella posted a tweet on the safety of its product and further went on defending its consumption. It went on further, stating:

“Making Nutella without palm oil would produce an inferior substitute for the real product, it would be a step backward,” Vincenzo Tapella from Ferrero told Reuters.

This link to cancer that has everybody up in arms, is inconclusive because the report that is being used to back up these cancer claims never mentioned the name brand as a culprit of it. If more research is needed on the subject, why are they using this old report to stir up controversy in the first place?

The biggest problem over the production of this highly prized palm oil is that poor countries in where the rain forest existed, large corporations are being lured into mass producing these trees for economic reasons, often at the expense of endangered aninimals and their habitats. A lot of people that live in the forest are being displaced in favor of the money these large farms can produce from growing and harvesting these trees. It reminded me of what the settlers did to gain land from the Indians. Remember The Trail of Tears?

In spite of this scare tactic from the media, no plans are in the works in the United Kingdom to stop sales of Nutrlla. The World Health Organizatio hasn’t warned people to cease consumption of palm oil. There are efforts to stop the massive distruction of the forests by producing synthetic palm oil, but even that is full o controversy too.

 

Sources:

Stores Are Pulling Nutella After Report Links It To Cancer

Process contaminants in vegetable oils and foods

Say No to Palm Oil

I love to write about trending topics and real life experiences. I love to read and write Science Fiction and Fantasy stories dealing with parallel worlds.

Will the new administration get Obamacare right with the March 3 deadline?

The fate of Obamacare delayed until March 3

It looked to me like the life of ObamaCare, otherwise known as The Affordable Care Act, is extended, at least until March 3. This allowed the in coming administration to get it right, thanks to the five senators that drafted and passed an amendment to the bill on Monday night. The January 27 deadline would’ve used money from the budget reconciliation to void parts of the controversial act.

SENATE VOTES OVERNIGHT IN FIRST STEP TOWARD REPEAL OF OBAMACARE

Having something new and more responsible is the incoming administration’s major hurdles and first on their agenda. How is this done without a huge hike in costs? According to one article, the ACA costs money, $1.34 trillion in the next 10 years. As this already added to the national defict, already reaching $19.8 trillion, taxpayers are alarmed this mandate further excentuated unneccessary, waistful spending. Nearly 20 million people will lose medical coverage if Obamacare is undone.

Speaking of the affect on the national deficit, a few estimates suggest that the ACA could have a positive long-term effect on the deficit; others disagree. saying that the new law will only add more weight to an already devastating national debt. Affordable healthcare comes at a cost to taxpayers who can afford to contribute to the system. And some taxpayers will pay substantially more than others depending on their health. age and socioeconomic status.

The Affordable Care Act requires a variety of things:1) Everyone must obtain insurance 2), policies have to offer “10 essential benefits. and 3) certain employers have to provide health insurance to full-time workers. These requirements might be seen as a slap in the face to personal freedom. Whether you agree with this assessment or not, conservatives back this mandate 100% and continue arguing the point, despite the fact that the bill is a law.

Republicans have it reversed. Government wasn’t the problem, it was the solution. The problem existed in the private sector. At least 20% won’t have a choice in providers in 2017. Those in the middle faced an average premium increase of 25%. Still the majority of people were taking a tax penalty because the premiums remain out of reach.

Donald Trump Warns Obamacare Taxes & Penalties 2016 – YouTube

Remember the problem with Bowie Memorial Hospital? It closed because of funding problems. Bowie citizens went to the polls in Montague County deciding whether to approve a hospital tax district, which would have pumped much-needed revenue into the hospital. Run by a volunteer board, appointed by  Bowie City Council members, Bowie Memorial bled millions over the years as administrators struggled to serve an aging, poor and underinsured population. But anti-tax forces in the community saw the district as another government bailout; some didn’t even believe the hospital would close.

With the influx of young people to bigger cities in search of jobs, the elderly and poor were left behind. This made things worse when Congress slashed funding and repayment costs for Medicaid and Medicare in the 1990s. The worst part of it is they didn’t expand services for Medicaid under the ACA, which left most uninsured who didn’t qualify for Medicaid and didn’t have Medicare. Nearly 80% of hospital patients were like that and very sick a lot on the time. It was sad to see this unfold last year on the news.

There has been local good news. Thanks to the ACA, there are urgent care centers and Emergency Clinics. Urgent care centers handle things that were handled in the next two days and up to a week. Emergency Clinics handle immediate problems like appendicitis, any type of stomach pains and the like. For a kidney infection, urgent care would run the testing aand diagnose the condition via their lab. For a migraine The Emergency Clinic is the option. The aim with all these options is to reduce the high copay costs of visiting an ER.

The cost of treating my migraine at URHCC ER back in January 2008 was $2,678, roughly. The cost for the ER doctor was over $300, separate from the treatment. This included three anti- nausea medication administered through an IV and my being hooked up to a heart machine, a blood test taken twice, and medicine to stop the pain. The medication for the migraine cost $285 before Medicare, $211 after. The large amount made my doctor cringe.

Medicare Part D Penalty

To leave Medicare Part D isn’t wise either. Not having prescription drug coverage cost someone 2.5% of their income plus a lifetime penalty that started at $ 4 a month. Because there isn’t any other income outside of my Social Security check and what my father left from the VA, the money probably will be deducted from my check before it is electronically deposited into my account. Not having part B costs more than that. As of April 15, 2017, the penalty started at $900. Penalties were like premiums. They went up too. Had I switched to the standard plan instead of going with another company, or sttaying with the value plan there probably wouldn’t be a premium increase of $17.

My point here is, in the rush to get out of the program, the representative on the phone December 7 mislead me into believing disenrollment in Medicare Part D could’ve been handled over the phone and there weren’t any consequences.  She may have started with them, but there wasn’t a full disclosure until my call on December 30.

So, as congress and the senate decide the fate of Obamacare, the effects could either hurt its users or help. Let’s pray they get it right by March 3 of this year.

WHAT TODAY’S PROCEDURAL VOTE MEANS FOR A POTENTIAL OBAMACARE REPEAL

 

 

Sources:

The GOP is pumping the brakes on repealing Obamacare Bob Bryan Business Insider January 10, 2017

Wichita Falls Urgent Care Clinics versus Emergency Rooms By Alex Achten, Thursday, November 17th 2016

Problems with Obamacare

Doctor’s Out: a Community Hospital Closes in Small-Town Texas by Alexa Garcia-Ditta Fri., April 1, 2016

The Biggest Problem with Obamacare (It’s Probably Not What You Think) “Government isn’t the problem here. It’s the solution.” By Richard Eskow / Blog for Our Future November 2, 2016

I love to write about trending topics and real life experiences. I love to read and write Science Fiction and Fantasy stories dealing with parallel worlds.

gaming consoles, bands, movies

2016: A look back at overrated entertainment and weird fashion

In some ways, SoundCloud’s post on Tumblr is correct. Top of the line can be overrated. Everyone knew that they were talking music must haves. This blogger, however, will go a lot further to include my top 2016: A look back at my top five overrated entertainment or weird fashion.

  1. In technology, its gaming consoles, particularly the Xbox One and the PS4. As of August 3. 2016. According to Quora, it is all about the lead magnet and the tripwire. How many people got caught up in the latest popular war game by watching ads on television and pop ups on their smartphones? Heaven knows, I’ve seen my share on the S5 that someone handed down to me this past summer. Truth be told, the battle between Microsoft and Sony is neverending. Sales between the two for top dog are slow to materialize because of media hype.
  1. In music, this blogger has to disagree with Jaded Bitterman and his Top 10 Most Overhowever, Willans of All Time The Beatles made history in England and the United States. I mean, exactly how can they be listed as overrated? He also listed the Eagles, Eric Clapton and Billy Joel as overrated too. I am not a fan of any of these artists, but they wouldn’t be on my list of overrated musicians. I loved “Yellow Submarine” when they played the song on Sesame Street and used their voices as the Muppets who sang the song. As for the Eagles, someone played ”Hotel California on their smartphone this morning outside underneath my window, and sang to it. Granted, Clapton is more of a blues player than a groundbreaking guitarist. I like “Tears In Heaven,’ though. In spite of the author saying that Billy Joel is overrated, he might be wrong there also. I like “The Piano Man” and “We Didn’t Start the Fire” His songs appealed to the average listener. I mean, the piano player is the nain attraction in a bar other than the bartender.
  1. Deadpool, according to WhatCulture, isn’t cutting edge enough in spite of the money brought in via the box office. Better safe then too violent. Just last week, an article in the Huffington Post said that there is copyright infringement pirating superhero movies on the internet . Ironic that the link can’t be found. Judging by ticket sales, overkill is the least of their worries. Remember Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was panned by critics before hitting the box office and still turned a big profit.There were other films on the list that this blogger never heard of, for instance, The Nice Guys lacked chemistry. WhatCulture said that the two actors picked to play the lead roles just didn’t fit chemically on screen. That may have been how the roles were designed. Talk about the odd couple. This blogger never saw Meryl Streep’s Florence Foster Jenkins either,  but what they said about this movie is right on the mark. Someone said she can sing and she does, in public.

Golden Globe Awards: The winners list

  1. According to Carlos Lozada, The Washington Post, he couldn’t stand, “Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right” (The New Press) by Arlie Russell Hochschild, finding it horribly overrated. The lead character hung onto too much baggage while visiting Louisiana to find out how people feel on the right side of politics. We all know that the press is extremely liberal. Some of those publications are bound and determined to bring down the current president elect—whatever it took. Lozada might be right about this award winning book, but this blogger plans to give Donald Trump a chance.
platform shoes, Dsisy Duke-like shorts, thong underwear

Weird fashion

  1. If one liked loud things, then fashion is where its at. I mean, platform shoes, fringe tops and skirts seemed like a throwback to the disco era of the 1970’s. One wrong turn or trip will break one’s ankle. This blogger wasn’t surprised at the Daisy Duke-like short shorts, except that the behind is covered. We all remember the female cousin from “The Dukes of Hazzard”, Catherine Bach and every other shapely female that wore those red alarm shorts. I am surprised thong underwear, affectionately called ‘butt floss’, hasn’t lost its popularity yet. I had to ban someone on my news site on Tumblr because of his racy content. Females wearing thong panties is all tha was posted. UGH!

Do you agree with this list? Leave a comment in the coment section of the blog to let me know either way.

 

 

 

 

Sources

What is the most overrated tech device in 2016? Chris Wilson,

Top 10 Most Overrated Musicians of All Time  JADED BITTERMAN

10 Most Overrated Movies Of 2016 (So Far) Sam Hill

The most ambitious, irritating, hopeful and overrated books of 2016 — and the best one,  too Carlos Lozada

The weirdest fashion trends from 2016 and three more to look forward to in 2017 By Marilisa Racco

 

I love to write about trending topics and real life experiences. I love to read and write Science Fiction and Fantasy stories dealing with parallel worlds.