The Puppyfication of America

I recently adopted a new puppy, a toy poodle which I have named Rufus. Rufus is the most adorable puppy, playful, warmhearted, and already my best friend. Even though I am in love with my puppy I’ve realized that he is really derpy and possibly not the smartest puppy in the pound. Looking at my toy poodle it is hard to imagine that he is a descendant of the gray wolf. Dogs were domesticated from wolves some 15,000 years ago. Wild wolves are great hunters, intelligent beasts, designed my nature to survived in the toughest environments. My puppy wouldn’t last a week without his kibble ‘n bits. But it’s not my puppy’s fault, the whole process of domestication makes animals dumber than their wild counterparts. Domestication de-evolves animals in an unnatural selective way into cute puppies, tasty beef, and dumb Americans.

The process of puppyfication, or domestication, does not only occur on animals whose traits we select and breed for, it is also affecting the American populace. American sensibilities and ideals are themselves changing by external factors such as our current education system and political correctness which is making Americans dumber. The United States was founded on the ideals of personal freedoms and liberties but now you can’t go visit grandma in Idaho without having your balls manhandled or your butt crack scanned using radiation. After the Civil War, the United States was by and large a pacifist nation and since World War II we haven’t seen a decade without being involved in a military conflict. During the Cold War, we were told that the communists are evil because they spy on their neighbors and now the Department of Homeland Security uses that same tactic in their “If you see something, say something” program. For generations, the American Dream was that if you work hard enough you can achieve anything, now it seems that the American Dream has been deferred to possibly sending your kids to college and put a little away for retirement.

I don’t have a time machine, but I can guarantee you that if we could travel back in time and talk to the founding fathers and describe to them what American has become that they would have surrendered their fight for independence because American independence is fast becoming a myth. George Washington would never have approved a Department of Homeland Security or Transportation Security Agency. Thomas Jefferson would not have condoned the Patriot Act or the Nation Defense Authorization Act. Abraham Lincoln would not have kept America at war and the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp opened for this long. The whole of the American Civil War lasted for four years, we’ve been in the current War on Terror for over ten years, and War of Drugs for over twenty-five years. We have active and covert military campaigns and war theaters across the Muslim world including Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, and others. Teddy Roosevelt would not install surveillance equipment in secret rooms in telecommunication companies, place GPS tracking devices in peoples cars, grant millions of wiretapping requests, and sweep civil liberties under the rug. Dwight Eisenhower would not have made a complicit deal with the military-industrial-financial complex and bail out banks instead of people, and police the population with military-grade drones.

The American public is trading in personal liberties for what the government says is public security. As this change is in process, the American people don’t seem to care. In fact, it seems that we the people care more about American Idol than presidential elections.

I don’t know when the puppyfication, or the homeland domestication, of the American people began. I can also see the difference between the American frontiers people that at great odds and personal danger fought tyranny and settled this country and modern American that settles to have his butt crack radiated when visiting grandma. Just like my toy poodle is breed to be cute and adorable may not resemble it’s wolves ancestors, so do modern Americans grilling in the backyard with drones flying overhead do not resemble the revolutionary heroes that founded this nation.

Future of Security Screening

The federal government, TSA, FAA, and other agencies know that airport security is security theater. The current airport screening policies, mechanisms, and technology is a joke and potentially dangerous to TSA staff and passengers as is the case with the naked body scanners. Current screening procedures and equipment keep changing ever few years but the future of airport screening is clear. TSA’s wet dream is to have everybody walk through the same screening machine. In the future, you will see that the screening checkpoint will be a enclosed tunnel where people will walk in a single file, much like the scene in Total Recall.

Scene From Total Recall

Scene From Total Recall

It’s clear that the government would prefer if everybody goes through an excessive full body naked scan to board a flight. It’s also clear that government agencies are usurping unprecedented power, that they are removing our civil liberties, our privacy, our rights one by one. The Department of Homeland Security would prefer of everybody goes through the same invasive machine, they want to remove the option of a pat down, remove the option or going through a metal detector, or other means.

The future of security checkpoint screening is to have everybody walk in a single file in a tunnel as they are scan multiple times at multiple frequencies with multiple naked body scanners. An array of naked body scanners can be installed along a long passageway that can capture passengers biometric information such as, retinal scans, facial scans, posture, walking sample, body temperature, heart rate, tattoos scans through clothing, etc. Video and audio recording is just the tip of the iceberg of what police will monitor, screen, and scan in public places for in the near future.

Social Media Top Links March 2010: Zuckerberg Hacks Email Accounts

Here are the top links, articles, and news regarding social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz, etc. The big news this month was an article that stated that Mark Zuckerberg allegedly used journalists’ Facebook credentials to hack into their email accounts when he was a student at Harvard.

Facebook

Twitter

Stupid Security Questions

I’ve always have a problem with security questions asked by banks and other financial institutions. For one part, these security questions are not really that secure and are easy to guess and reverse engineer. In 2008, the Republican vice-presidential candidate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s email hacked by guessing the answers of security questions. From a Wired report on the account of the email crack.

The Palin hack didn’t require any real skill. Instead, the hacker simply reset Palin’s password using her birthdate, ZIP code and information about where she met her spouse — the security question on her Yahoo account, which was answered (Wasilla High) by a simple Google search.

Recently, it was reported that President Obama’s Twitter account was hacked by guessing the security question related to password recovery systems. These type of ‘hacks’ require no computer science degree, computer security expertise, or black hat hacking skills. This is the sort of ‘hacking’ that an ex might find themselves doing on your Facebook account. I would not put a lot of blame on curious kids with a lot of time on their hands and an internet connections, I put the blame on enterprise software architects that impose stupid and weak security systems in place.

At first, security questions consisted of naming the town you where born, or the maiden name of your mother. Then the progressed to the name of your third grade teacher, then the last name of your fifth girlfriend, then to the where you where in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and they have gotten worse since then. Here are some security questions I found myself forced to answer.

  • Who was your childhood hero?
  • What is the first and last name of your first boyfriend or girlfriend?
  • Which phone number do you remember most from your childhood?
  • What was your favorite place to visit as a child?
  • Who is your favorite actor, musician, or artist?
  • What was the last name of your third grade teacher?

The problem now, with the current trend of security questions, is that even I don’t know the answers to them or that their answer might change over time. Trying to answer any of the the above security questions in five years from now and you might sounds like the following… “I liked both Spiderman and Wolverine, but I might have answered Superman. I liked Britney Spears then, but not as much as Miley Cyrus, but wasn’t Lady Futura big then.”

I think that security questions are not secure or practical. They are a annoyance for users and high light security flaws in computer systems.

Here is a list of security questions considered good and notice that they all suffer from the issues outline here, they are either easy to guess or easy to forget.

  • What was your childhood nickname?
  • In what city did you meet your spouse/significant other?
  • What is the name of your favorite childhood friend?
  • What street did you live on in third grade?
  • What is your oldest sibling’s birthday month and year? (e.g., January 1900)
  • What is the middle name of your youngest child?
  • What is your oldest sibling’s middle name?
  • What school did you attend for sixth grade?
  • What was your childhood phone number including area code? (e.g., 000-000-0000)
  • What is your oldest cousin’s first and last name?
  • What was the name of your first stuffed animal?
  • In what city or town did your mother and father meet?
  • Where were you when you had your first kiss?
  • What is the first name of the boy or girl that you first kissed?
  • What was the last name of your third grade teacher?
  • In what city does your nearest sibling live?
  • What is your youngest brother’s birthday month and year? (e.g., January 1900)
  • What is your maternal grandmother’s maiden name?
  • In what city or town was your first job?
  • What is the name of the place your wedding reception was held?
  • What is the name of a college you applied to but didn’t attend?
  • Where were you when you first heard about 9/11?

Another trend that I have noticed is that financial institutions and credit companies have a lot of private data on you and other perspective borrowers. So they don’t need to ask you such security questions, they can generate they own and match your answers to the years of paper trail and data fingerprints they have on you. If you call your bank in the near future, don’t be surprised if they ask you who you lose your virginity to.