If You’re Not Paranoid, You’re Crazy: As government agencies and tech companies develop more and more intrusive means of watching and influencing people, how can we live free lives?


I listened to Walter Kirin interviewed on Note To Self, a New York based public radio station/podcast series.  The episode was Is My Phone Eavesdropping On Me?

He’s a talented writer and I liked that Up In The Air movie based on his book staring George Clooney and Anna Kendrick.   Anyway, they discuss the If You’re Not Paranoid, You’r Crazy article in the podcast and now I’m about to cite it for a sociology paper. It’s a good everyman read.









Quick Note Capture like Notational Velocity or nvALT in Emacs Org-mode

Notatioanl Velocity minimalist quick capture is great.  I have been using org-capture for quickly capturing tasks with templates but I want to have Emacs search first.  org-velocity.el is a org-model contrib package.

  1. I setup the load-path variable to load lisp including subdirectories
  2. M-x customize-apropos RET org-modules
    1. check off org-velocity.el contrib package
  3. require the org-velocity to load
  4. setup org-directory and a file to put the notes into
  5. I setup the notes bucket file with a .txt extension instead of the default .org for interoperabilty.
(require 'package)
(add-to-list 'package-archives '("org" . "http://orgmode.org/elpa/") t)

(let ((default-directory "~/.emacs.d/"))

(setq org-directory "~/sync/org/")

(require 'org-velocity)
(setq org-velocity-bucket (expand-file-name "my-bucket-file.org" org-directory))
(global-set-key (kbd "C-c v") 'org-velocity)

;; setup files ending in “.txt with org-mode
(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.txt\\'" . org-mode))

I have not tried deft.el and that lookes more true to Notational Velocity setup with many small text files. I would like to try but should get back to homework :)



  • <2015-11-11 Wed>I have moved to deft.el  Wow, this is amazing!

Hardcore History 56: King of Kings

Dan Carlin’s podcast is the most epic on the interwebs.  Great action packed HH56-sliderstory telling and a huge amount of research with thoughtful modern day analogies in this audiobook quality production.

This one is about the Achaemedic Persian empire, “often regulated to the role of slavish cannon fodder for Sparta’s spears.”

Carlin’s depiction of Herodotus as a screenwriter is on the mark. After listening to this, you will have an increased appropriation for King Leonidas’s reported response to being offered control of Greece if he would bend the knee and give up his weapons.

This is like the prequel to The Battle of Thermoplae. Molon labe.” (Come and take.) 




How to shave?

My elecrtic razor replacement blade broke after a few days and considering the price, environmental footprint, shave quality and hassel of replacement I am thinking of switching to an old fashed safety razor.

I the first notion of maybe switching came from an Art of Manliness podcast episode.  Podcast #139: The Secrets of Shaving

On the varible of shave quality, Brett reviews a six month each trial of the top Consumer Reports rated rotory and foil razors and has a nice historical perspective in this Art of Manliness Sacrilege! My Year-Long Experiment With Using an Electric Razor blog post.

How to use a Chromebook as ChomeOS / full local deskop Linux / full web desktop Linux Thingamajig?

The Problem

I want to use desktop Linux apps on my Chromebook, pick up where I left off every time I boot on campus and not bog down my hard-wired 2 GB RAM running heavyweight software.

The Solution

crouton (Chromium OS Universal Chroot Environment)

sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -t audio,xiwi,cli-extra,gtk-extra,xfce -r trusty
  • the -e makes the chroot (a Linux operating system instance within a Linux operating) encrypted
  • – t stands for “targets” and I choose:
    • audio for the chroot to use ChromeOS for audio, as I have had problem with no sound without it
    • cli-extra and gtk-exta are just some extra command line interface and GTK programs since I am using a minimal desktop environment (DE) install at ~250 MB
    • xfce is the default DE for crouton.  Very basic and not my favourite but it’s doesn’t take that much RAM and with my new xiwi and X2Go approach, I may not get to annoyed for this traditional desktop on my touch screen.
    • – r is for release, Trusty is the current Long Term Support version of Ubuntu so it’s fairly recent but not bleeding edge unsupported stuff that can ruin your day when you have something due.

xiwi (X11 in a Window) target

You used to have to run your chroots fullscreen in crouton but now you can also run the desktop in a browser window.  I prefer Firefox but found it slow in crouon GNOME 12.04 ect. and it can be redundant to have two big browser running on limited hardware.  More so in the future I imagine as Firefox is standardizing add-ons to be like Chrome extensions.

I tried xiwi when after reading a blog post about it on release but did not realize that you could just pick individual applications to run in windows and tabs!  Ooooh …ahhhh! The possibilities…

They use GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program) as an example on their GitHub wiki .

You can download a picture and then fire up GIMP to edit it.

sudo enter-chroot -b xiwi gimp ~/Downloads/img.jpg

That’s cool.

I am looking forward to using it for Emacs out-and-about as well.

X2Go client install

sudo apt-get install x2goclient



  • no sound in ubuntu MATE 14.04 on DigitalOcean server
    • …. I tried adding pulseaudio daemon to startup …. no luck
    • $ sudo alsa force-reload Unloading ALSA sound driver modules: (none loaded). Loading ALSA sound driver modules: (none to reload).
    • I wonder if I could somehow visualize sound output to the X2Go client? …. yet I don’t have time for this problem at the moment
    • <2015-10-13 Tue> Firefox is still my prefered heavywight browser for extensions and customization but JavaScript overuse is breaking the Internet mainstream browsers are now resource hogs.  QupZilla is a lightweight  Qt-based cross-platform web browser that won’t break the RAM  bank for casual Web use.  I’m also primarily using KDE these so the stack fits right in.  I also switching from regular backback to a rucksack with staps at the shoulders and stomach to distribute weigth so now I don’t mind the two hour hike with my ThinkPad over the smaller Chromebook.





Canada government suspends scientist for folk song about prime minister

An environmental scientist working for a Canadian government agency has been suspended and will be investigated for recording a protest song about the prime minister, Stephen Harper, according to union representatives.

The song is called Harperman and was written by Tony Turner, who worked at Environment Canada and is, in his spare time, “a mainstay on the Ottawa folk music scene”, according to a biography on his website. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/28/canadian-scientist-suspended-folk-song-stephen-harper

…First Harper cuts funding for environmental agencies and their libraries, then they are not allowed to speak publicly about their own field of expertise and now they can’t even sing a folk song that offends our Dear Leader?

I’m grateful to live in a country in which a greedy politician would still have a hard time setting up an absolute one party or one man rule but I feel that if Harper was given the chance, he would keep playing his zero sum game of power grasping at the expense of the common good.

My rule of thumb is that if politicians are trying to censor trade deals or scientists, the anonymity they seek is probably for the benefit of the few over the many they want kept in the dark.

Censoring a folk song with a sweet little old lady choir is just Harper reaching a comical new Machiavellian level.

I can’t imagine anything more important than air, water, soil, energy and biodiversity. These are the things that keep us alive. – David Suzuki