η: Innovative people power


 Posted on July 8th, 2014
 by Patrick – Won't you help brighten a lonely comment box's day?

That lowercase Greek letter at the beginning is “Eta” (capital is “Η”), and it might seem like a vacuous headline but some of my recent posts should provide sufficient contrast to mega-corps and government, both of whom view innovation as something to be avoided. Contrast again with something like Toronto’s AeroVelo, a project-based company started by a couple of former University of Toronto propeller-heads.

AeroVelo’s innovation consists of finally turning interesting mechanical concepts into reality. For example, a while back this guy named Leonardo imagined human-powered flying machines.

leonardo-da-vinci-helicopter

Humanity got screwed on that idea for a few hundred years or so, no doubt due to government regulations.

Although they didn’t exactly follow the original blueprint, AeroVelo managed to get Leo’s vision aloft:

Before that they did a flappy-style flying craft, also powered by nothing more than gumption (and a guy pedalling):

And now that they’ve conquered the skies, they’ve just passed their goal on KickStarter to build the world’s fastest human-powered bicycle named “Eta”, of course.

To be specific:

Our goal is to build the world’s fastest human-powered vehicle, capable of surpassing the current level-ground speed record of 133.8 km/hr (83.1 mph)! This represents a mind-blowing leap in aerodynamic efficiency and vehicle technology. If your car looked like this, you could drive across Canada on a quarter tank of gas!

3view

bluenose3Views

I’m not sure if I’d want my car to be this cramped, but I still think it’s neat that true innovation is happening at the individual level, in more ways than one. What’s more, while this all still looks pretty experimental, it seems perfectly reasonable to expect that AeroVelo’s ideas will trickle into the mainstream in a way that will reasonably be accessible to most people. It is, after all, just a very fancy bike.

Publicly-funded government and mega-corp “innovation”,  on the other hand, is not so people-friendly (more anti-people, pro-tyranny, with hints of treason, really).

No comments. How about yours?

Ford & Blair: another theory


 Posted on July 3rd, 2014
 by Patrick – Won't you help brighten a lonely comment box's day?

Now, I have to stress, this is totally just a theory. I have no evidence of any of this — it is a pure flight of fancy.

But let’s consider this: how come Rob Ford is still roaming the halls of City Hall, locking reporters out, and basically being good old RoFo again? And anyone have a pool going on when he officially (documented) hits the pipe again? How far off can it be?

But he does look slimmer, I’ll give him that. His stay in unbelievably picturesque Bracebridge must’ve been good. And not too cheap neither. Bracebridge is one of the jewels in what is basically the Canadian Hamptons.

In any event, and for whatever reason, the Fords are either intimidating to Chief Blair and many others, or they’re (Fords + Blair + others) working together. Whatever the case, the top cop refuses to touch Ford with so much as a fifty-foot pole wielded by a lackey who is on concurrent traffic duty. I’ve already established this point a couple of times.

So instead, Blair decides to shuffle the investigation over to various parties, thereby washing his hands of the situation. Enforcement won’t be involved.

The courts decide that, for perhaps the same whatever reason, they don’t want to deal with this either, so they hang it out to dry like the crusty laundry it is.

The complicit media behemoths provide watered-down analysis to ensure the public that everything and anything in God’s creation that could have been done was done. We’ll simply have to accept that our Mayor is a hard-drug-smoking, prostitute-cavorting, extortion-associating, gun-and-drug-running-related, murder-linked guy; he’s just a regular multi-millionaire like the rest of us except that he’s got a disease! So obviously it would be discriminatory to even suggest that he leave City Hall at this point.

And, of course, it’s completely coincidental that the Ontario Human Rights Commission declared that addiction is a disease just before RoFo made his ignominious return. Right?

Not to put too fine a point on it, imagine going to your office after hours wasted (on multiple occasions), harassing the security, and inviting “unknown persons” in for late night parties. Not only does this not get you fired, but you threaten to sue your boss for discriminating against you because of your “disease” – the criminal excuse du jour that ends up making legitimate addicts (who purposefully hurt no one but themselves), seem like degenerates. Rob Ford is using a real medical condition to legitimize his open criminality, lies, and ongoing scumbaggery. Pretty slimy thing to do, huh? Well, that’s Rob Ford for you!

The cops might be chicken shit for whatever reason, or they may be deferential for whatever reason. The courts may have equal whatever reasons. The end result in either case is that the law was not applied equally and neither was the investigation.

So could they be working together?

Wait, no, that’s no possible. Remember when Rob and Doug chewed the chief out?

Let me offer another theory.

What if there were some secret meetings that took place in which exactly this scenario would be hatched? Rob and Doug would publicly vilify the chief (easy) who would put on a stoic face (easy) and hand the matter off to a less improprietous body, which itself would turn around and just make the whole thing public (easy). Rob and Doug gain fans because they’re under such furious attack, Bill looks like the proper police chief, and the wise court gives the people what they really want — titillating, salacious details.

The whole matter: under the rug, RoFo & Co. are pleased (as are their masters), and everyone looks like they’re just doing they’re job. Except they’re really not.

No comments. How about yours?

BreakOutBox open-sourced


 Posted on July 2nd, 2014
 by Patrick – Won't you help brighten a lonely comment's day?

BreakOutBox

When I mentioned that I’d be releasing the BreakOutBox source code, I didn’t expect that I’d also be able to figure out how to create a portable version of the application, but I did. :) This means that you don’t necessarily have to install it, as you would do with a standard application, so it can run off of a USB stick or possibly even a DVD.

In a nutshell, BreakOutBox detects any browsers you may have installed and opens them in “Tor mode” — ready and set up to communicate through the Tor network via the included Tor binary. This is likely not as secure as something like the Tor Browse Bundle, but it still makes it so that you’re fairly anonymously browsing the web, seemingly from a whole other part of the world.

Tor exit address

The source code is not something that a novice will want to be looking into at the moment; it’s currently poorly commented, comes with no documentation, and really not much in the way of explanation. At least for now. And it’s pretty buggy.

But if you’re still willing and able, head on over to the new GitHub repo I’ve set up:

https://github.com/Patrick-Bay/BreakOutBox

You’ll notice a folder in the project called “BreakOutBox_standalone” which is the actual portable app, as compiled by FlashDevelop. It is bulkier than it needs to be but, as with the other pieces, I haven’t yet had much chance to trim down or edit the files. If you want to use the portable version, I recommend just grabbing the whole folder for the time being. Open up the “BreakOutBox.exe” file to run the desktop application from wherever you’ve copied the folder.

Although I’ve included them already, you may also want to check out the supporting libraries that are used in BreakOutBox:

SwAG: https://code.google.com/p/swag-as/
as3crypto: http://as3crypto.googlecode.com/
WRASE: https://code.google.com/p/wrase/
TorAS: https://code.google.com/p/toras/

These are necessary for BoB to operate correctly — SwAG takes care of communicating between the modules, as3crypto provides HTTPS support, WRASE allows the application to work with the Windows Registry, and TorAS makes Tor happen.

As I mentioned, these are already included in the GitHub code so they’re included here simply as a reference. Other than grabbing yourself a copy of the latest FlashDevelop (and the BreakOutBox source code, of course), you should be ready to play around with the software.

Please enjoy.

One comment. Yours would be wonderful company.