@KassyDillon’s talk @WestminsterMO

“I heard there might be protests, if there are, then turn to them and start filming.”

“Ok”, I said as I went to my camera bag and grabbed my 40mm, while thinking to myself “I’m not a videographer, but by all means if something comes up, then I’ll do my best to get it.”

This was part of my introduction to Ms. Kassy Dillon. A girl that I’d been following on Twitter for nearly a year now and came across her after what became known as “Trigglypuff” and Milo Yiannopoulos.

She was in Westminster giving a speech on Campus Conservatism and she spoke to a pretty full house (much to our surprise).

As for the speech itself, it was enjoyable; however, I was left with one question at the end of the day: “Who was the target?”

What I mean is, during the speech, it seemed that Ms. Dillon flipped back and forth between targeting a general audience and potential on campus conservatives. It was by no means incoherent, but my advice would be to pick a topic an audience and stay with them.

For example:

Kellogg Community College having Shelby Gregoire arrested for distributing the Constitution on campus. This is an issue that should appall all members of the public (left and right) and it shows how such a “conservative” act is being repressed on campus.

Then later on, she advertises for her website and encourages students to be active politically while in college.

In that example, it is really minor; however, while in attendance it felt like there were two distinct audiences being talked to.

The speech was prepared and that is my biggest complaint on it. If you want, you may watch or read the speech at the bottom.


Where things really got good and where I want to focus on was during the Q&A, as this shows me what a speaker truly believes and how they can act on the fly.

A question that reached out to me was by a Palestinian student who expressed her concern about reaching out to the other side when President Trump is trying to implement a travel ban.

Kassy’s response was to insert a human element into the conversation. She said that if the ban were permanent that she’d be opposed to it. Saying, in quote, “But some people aren’t looking at how it actually affects people.” and that “Even the right is not united on it”.

This is something that I happen to agree with. I’m very fortunate that I go to school where I do. There are a lot of Middle Eastern students my graduate program and I’ve gotten to know them personally. I can say that these people are the smart men and women we need working to make the country the best it can be. And yes, I’ve met many an Iranian student and they are some of the hardest and smartest people you’ll ever meet.

My take away from working with the Iranians is that they know what is going on in their country and they want to leave. Iran has a huge brain drain.

Another question (to which Kassy was well prepared for) dealt with the Alt-Right:
“You said that conservatism was being co-opted by certain movements, but what do you recommend conservatives do to deal with that?”

To which Ms. Dillon breaks the Alt-Right into three distinct subcatagories:

  1. Alt-Right: The neo-Nazis, white nationalists, the people that openly say, “I support a white ethno-state.”
  2. Alt-Lite: People who preach “Westernism“, but you’ll also hear a lot of anti-Islam in it. They don’t explicitly say they’re white nationalists, but sometimes they may have other terms for it. Examples include Milo Yiannopoulos, Mike Cernovich, Paul Joseph Watson, and occasionally Alex Jones.
  3. New Right: These people are what were formally called “Reagan Democrats”. The blue-collar men and women who have typically vote Democrat (or are apolitical), but instead are “Republican only for Trump” (in this case).

When talking to her after the speech, she seemed excited to be able to distance herself from the alt-right. I think that the reason why, is that she believes the media has properly co-oped all of conservatism with the alt-right. Make no doubt that there are several pundits who have, but even Hillary Clinton has noted that the alt-right is a corruption of conservatism:

This is not conservatism as we have known it. This is not Republicanism as we have know it. These are race-baiting ideas, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant ideas, anti-woman –– all key tenets making up an emerging racist ideology known as the ‘Alt-Right.’

It is important to note that she was separating conservatism from alt-right while still attacking Donald Trump.

This is of course interesting, considering how she is the victim of a “Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy”, to turn around and see her offer a little defense to her political opponents, but it does show how even she thinks that there is a difference between the two.

What was very strange was a question in regards to biological differences between races. This came from a Nepalese student who I think might have been trying to tick her; however, his question about what can effectively be described as “pro-eugenics” stuck me with great concern. The full exchange is:

Student: Like you said, I was actually very disappointed with what happened at Middlebury College in regards to you know like, beating up the professor and Charles Murray. What’s your opinion on the works on Charles Murray?

Kassy: Yeah, so I haven’t read The Bell Curve. It’s called The Bell Curve if you guys are ever interested in reading his ideas. I don’t agree with it necessarily, I think that nature vs. nurture argument; you can’t prove either. I think it’s just a wide thesis that he had out there. So I don’t necessarily agree with him but I haven’t read the entire book so I probably should do that. But, if you really disagree with him, go challenge him. Like for instance, Linda Sarsour is coming to my college this year. I am not a fan of Linda Sarsour, at all. Anyone familiar with Linda Sarsour? Organizer of the Women’s March? She’s Palestinian, and she told another Muslim woman who had FGM, told her that she didn’t deserve a vagina. She’s coming to my school, and I’m not going to protest it. I’m not going to organize against it. I am going to go there and ask her a question. I am going to challenge her. I want her to answer something that I’m asking her. Usually she speaks to crowds that are liberal, people ask her questions that are easy. I want to ask her a hard question. So I think if someone went to a Charles Murray speech, and asked him a hard question, that would be more productive than shutting him down because if you shut him down, you’re giving him so much of a platform.

Same student follow up: So let’s say what if there is a biological difference in our intelligence, I think we have to take a moral stance because let’s say, whatever the case, like in a good society people shouldn’t have to get shot by the police just because of their skin color or because someone makes an assumption off them based on where they live. So I think at some point, we have to make a moral judgement [sic] about what we do. So what moral judgement [sic] would you make? Like if there’s research, let’s say, that people from Nepal have a really low IQ, so does that mean we can’t exist together in society?

Kassy: I would take a moral stance by trying to critique his research, because he did research this he didn’t pull it out of nowhere. I’d critique his research and tell him I don’t agree with it. I think that’s what you should do. There are actually so many books that are refuting what he said, and I think that’s actually important to read.

My advise and response to the student would have been that you determine your own worth, not your genetics. There are very smart people of all races, nationalities, and creeds — just like there are dumb people under the same categories. However, that discussion could very easily take a religious turn..


That said, I think Kassy is in a very good place right now. I think that if she can fix that minor issue, then I think she’ll have a long speaking career ahead of her. I think that she handled herself very professionally and I look forward to watching her continue to develop as a speaker.

Entire speech:

Speech Transcript

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

MSGEQ7 pain fun!

Taken from sparkfun.com Distributted by CC BY 2.0

Several years ago I had ordered five MSGEQ7 to eventually build a graphic equalizer. During my first attempts at it, I didn’t use any capacitors and couldn’t get it to work, so I gave up.

Fast forward to earlier this year when I decide I’m going to do something with these chips (project to be shown later) and tonight I finally break them out and give it a go.

The datasheet provides a working example of how to properly use the chip and I built up that example circuit; however, that didn’t work.

Next, I new Sparkfun had an Arduino Shield for the chip and they give both code examples and their schematics. So, I built that up, modified their code and….nothing. Garbage output.

I look for a third source and find this blog post. So I build it up and still garbage output.

At this point, I’m loosing my patience. Now I have cheap Chinese breadboads and sometimes they aren’t the best and since the circuit was so simple, I just pulled out a sheet of perfboard and made it. Still, nothing on the output.

Really upset now, I go to my drawer where I have extras and I pull them out and start popping them into the circuit and observing the output. The second one gives different garbage output, same with the third and fourth.

Finally, on my last one, I get some useful output. It isn’t perfect and one of the channels is garbage, but it is something.

So, with a somewhat working chip, I start to resort the defective chips to make sure I gave them a fair shake. As I put them back in and looked at the serial monitor, I still got garbage back. 🙁

I’m none too happy at the moment with this chip. I think I’d recommend people to get premade breakout boards. Yeah, they cost over $10, but it’s easier and faster to check for defects.

In the meantime, I have my own breakout board so if I ever feel like ordering more, then I’ve got something to test them with.

Posted in Engineering | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Eclipse Collage


Today was the big day! There was a total solar eclipse across the entire US!

Unfortunately, where I was at did not to a full 100%; however, I thought I’d show you part of what I did manage to get.

Posted in Photography | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Pantum P2500 on Linux

I’ve had a Pantum P2500W laser printer for a while and it’s a cheap B&W printer. I use it for printing journal articles and for making PCBs.

It does its job quite well and I’d even recommend it.

What’s good about this printer is that it supports Linux! (yay!) However, if you’re on a rpm based distro, then you’re kinda out of luck.

You can get the official driver here for Ubuntu or Debian.

Normally I wouldn’t write something, because you can just use Alien to convert it. Nothing big…

However, let’s look at this:


./alien.pl --to-rpm ./Pantum-P2500-Series-2.6.x86_64.deb
Warning: alien is not running as root!
Warning: Ownerships of files in the generated packages will probably be wrong.
Use of uninitialized value $field in string eq at Alien/Package/Deb.pm line 262.
Use of uninitialized value in lc at Alien/Package/Deb.pm line 630.
Use of uninitialized value in lc at Alien/Package/Deb.pm line 630.
Warning: Skipping conversion of scripts in package : postinst postrm
Warning: Use the --scripts parameter to include the scripts.
Use of uninitialized value in lc at Alien/Package/Deb.pm line 630.
Use of uninitialized value $_ in pattern match (m//) at Alien/Package/Deb.pm line 673.
Use of uninitialized value $_ in concatenation (.) or string at Alien/Package/Deb.pm line 674.
mkdir: invalid option -- '0'
Try 'mkdir --help' for more information.
unable to mkdir -0: at Alien/Package.pm line 257.

And you get nothing…so how do we fix this?

Well, we need to extract the data from the deb. We can do this with ar.[1]


mkdir ./Pantum-P2500-Series-2.6.x86_64
ar -x ../Pantum-P2500-Series-2.6.x86_64.deb

You’ll see that I did this in a new directory. In this case, you get “tar bomb’d”; however, I imagine that is the case for other debs as well.

Anyway, with that you’ll see that you have two tar archives. Extracting them, you’ll get a layout like:


.
├── control
├── control.tar.gz
├── data.tar.gz
├── debian-binary
├── postinst
├── postrm
└── usr
├── lib
│   └── cups
│   └── filter
│   └── pt2500Filter
└── share
├── cups
│   └── model
│   └── Pantum
│   ├── Pantum P2200 Series.ppd
│   ├── Pantum P2200W Series.ppd
│   ├── Pantum P2500N Series.ppd
│   ├── Pantum P2500NW Series.ppd
│   ├── Pantum P2500 Series.ppd
│   ├── Pantum P2500W Series.ppd
│   ├── Pantum P2550N Series.ppd
│   ├── Pantum P2550 Series.ppd
│   ├── Pantum P2600N Series.ppd
│   ├── Pantum P2600NW Series.ppd
│   ├── Pantum P2600 Series.ppd
│   └── Pantum S2000 Series.ppd
└── doc
└── pantum-p2500-series
├── changelog.gz
└── copyright

At this point, we have everything we need to get our printer up and working. As root, do the following:


cp -rv ./usr/share/cups/model/Pantum /usr/share/cups/model
cp -rv ./usr/lib/cups/filter/pt2500Filter /usr/lib/cups/filter
systemctl restart cups

From here on out, you can add the printer the normal way that you would want to.

For those of you who don’t want to go through the hassle of extracting the deb and all of that, I’ve put the x86_64 and i386 tarballs on the site for you to get.

You’ll still need to do the copy portion, but that’s really all there is to it to get this printer up and going.

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Remote Install of OpenSuSE

It’s time to update the network!

Most of the services I host have been running off of my main desktop which isn’t very safe, so I have this plan drawn out on my white board and I’m finally starting to implement it.

I’ll be using Tumbleweed from hereon out for my servers and I’ll stick with Leap for the desktop (because Nvidia…).

That said, I thought I’d try doing a remote install.

I plugged in a USB drive with the ISO “burned” on it and followed the standard procedure for remote install. A quick guide can be found here, but I’ll go over things just for fun.

At the boot screen, add the following boot options:


UseSSH=1 SSHPassword=unencrypted_password

I thought at that point, everything would be cool and I could just SSH into the box; however, it needs more user input than that.

You’ll first be required to say what language you want to use on your machine and then it’ll load Linux. After that, then it’ll prompt you for which network card to send a DHCP broadcast out to. This about five minuets, which is annoying to say the least.

I consider these prompts and the time it takes to be a problem. Suppose I wanted to just go into a datacenter, pop an install medium in, and put in those quick little boot parameters, then I’d be hosed as I couldn’t access my system remotely!

I know I’m nitpicking and that I should just do my installs with AutoYaST and the questions do actually make sense; however, it just isn’t what I expected.

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Rosabel Edney rosabeledney@yahoo.com


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New Category! Wall of Shame

I’m going to start posting spam that I receive to my inbox.

The first post is in base64, so I’ll leave it as I got it; however, I hope to include full headers later on.

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Yvone Chen yvone@dunfa.com.cn

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Nice little Hackathon

So I have an interview tomorrow and I was asked to show off a recent project I completed.

Well, I don’t really have one of those, so I decided to just make a project real quick.

I wound up making a webserver in about six hours (realize that includes taking breaks, having dinner, and so on). I think it does a good enough job to be honest. It probably has more memory leaks than FireFox, but I think it’s good enough.

I’d like to include the use of dlopen(3), but we’ll see how far I get on that tomorrow.

Anyway, if you want to see the code:
Here it is

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Problems with JSON and FOSS

So, over the past year or so, I’ve been introduced to JSON.

JSON is an alright format and is easier to write than XML (did I remember that close tag?).

However, my biggest gripe with it is the license.

Behold this statement:

The Software shall be used for Good, not Evil.

I think that was meant to be tongue in cheek; however, IBM didn’t think so and got special permission to use it however they see fit.[1]

This brings up a problem, clearly JSON is not “Free” data interchange. In fact, GNU points this out.

It appears to be heavily relied on for the Ruby community. Which is of course problematic if you’re a die hard GNU fanboy. Now, I appreciate the GNU GPL licenses (although they are not without their flaws); however, it isn’t my go to license. That said, I do have concern for that clause.

Maybe I’ll contact the Mr. Crockford and ask him to clear it up.

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