GrayKey box, via MalwareBytes

I Told You So Department: GrayKey Hacked


Apple, bless its corporate heart, has continued to refuse to cooperate with U.S. demands for a backdoor to Apple’s iPhone. One of Apple’s reasons fo refusing to sacrifice customer’s privacy is that secret back doors don’t stay secret. And now there is proof Apple was exactly right. A company called Grayshift has stepped into the…

Software Patent Troll (Not to Scale)

Getting Geeky: SCOTUS Upholds Inter Partes Review


Everyone except patent trolls think that the U.S. patent system, especially patents of computer software, is broken. Patent trolls love the overly complex, messy patent system for exactly the reasons that rats like garbage-filled, messy alleys. It’s where they live. Congress took a stab at cleaning up part of the mess with the America Invents Act…

Scotchguard™ advertisement, c. 1961

Putting the Genie Back in the Bottle: Scotchgard™


Scotchgard™ is a 3M product that makes fabrics stain resistant and somewhat water repellent. 3M completely reformulated Scotchgard in May 2000. It turned out that the chemicals used in earlier versions of  Scotchgard were dangerous and persisted in the environment for a long time. Those chemicals were perfluorinated compounds (“PFASs”), including perfluorooctane sulfate (“PFOS”) and perfluorooctanoic…

Guy Christopher Mannino

Karma Happens: Chris Mannino Loses Again


WC has written before about Guy Christopher Mannino, a sleaze ball WC had to deal with who finally had his karma catch up to him. Mannino was convicted of a series of crimes involving his plans to murder a large number folks who he felt had done him wrong. Mannino appealed his conviction to the…

Let’s Meet the Condidates!


That’s not a typo. WC is talking about the convicts who are running as Republican candidates for office. Ronald Regan’s law and order party has come to this: a criminal conviction is no longer an obstacle to a successful Republican candidacy. Without further ado, WC presents the cons. Joe Arpaio, is the former Maricopa County…

"Infowars" host Alex Jones arrives at the Travis County Courthouse in Austin, Texas, on April 17. Tamir Kalifa / American-Statesman via AP

Reality Bites: Alex Jones Learns About Defamation


Alex Jones, wacko conspiracy theorist only loosely in touch with reality, is starting to receive a schooling in the consequences of calling the parents of victims of the Sandy Hook mass shooting liars. For more than five years now, Jones has claimed the December 2012 Sandy Hook shooting didn’t happen, that the parents of the…

The Donald Acting Out (David Becker/Getty Images)

Presidential Firsts


The United States has had 44 different persons serve as president.1 You can only say these things about one of them: At the date he was sworn in to office, he was a defendant in a massive criminal and civil fraud case; three, in fact. Two class action cases and one case brought by the…

Jeff MacNelly's Best Political Cartoon

The GOP’s Big Lies: Changes in the Deficit


It’s National Tax Day. It seems appropriate to write about the deficit. As long as WC has been paying attention to politics – more than 50 years now – a cornerstone of Republican economic policy has been the size of the federal deficit. Back in 2009, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decried the $787 billion stimulus…

Missing Mass: No WIMPs Here. Try ADMX?


WC has written before about the two mysteries confronting astrophysics: dark matter and dark energy. It turns out that visible matter – the stuff we can detect with existing astronomy equipment – accounts for only about 5% of the apparent mass of the universe. The other, missing mass is a mix of dark matter –…

Long-tailed Tyrant, Costa Rica

Return of Bird of the Week: Long-tailed Tyrant


There are a staggering, bewildering number of birds in the Neotropics that eat bugs. Hundreds of species of flycatchers, alone. One of the more spectacular is the Long-tailed Tyrant. Long-tailed Tyrants feed exclusively on flying insects, especially stingless bees.  Insects are captured by making quick aerial sallies from a high exposed snag or branch. Not coincidentally, that perching…

Pogo, August 11, 1965, by Walt Kelly, © United Features Syndicate

The Uncanny Prophecy of Walt Kelly


Walt Kelly, for readers too young to remember (or too old to remember) was the creator and cartoonist for Pogo, a daily cartoon which ran from 1948 to 1975. WC has celebrated Kelly’s extraordinary work in past posts.1 But, since this is Friday the 13th and paraskevidekatriaphobia — a neologism derived from the combination of the Greek words…

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rat Deserts Sinking Ship


Paul Ryan has announced he is retiring. He won’t be standing for re-election. Another rat deserting the sinking ship of the Trump presidency. House Speaker Paul Ryan. The number three man in the federal government. The excuse? He wants to spend more time with his wife and family. That one doesn’t pass the red face…

Rachel Carson official USF&W photo, c. 1940

Silent Spring Reconsidered


When EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announces yet another attack on the environmental laws and that protect us, it’s ironic, bitterly ironic, that the announcements are often made from the ceremonial auditorium on the third floor of EPA headquarters; from the Rachel Carson Room. The Rachel Carson room is just a few feet away from the EPA…

Fake News? You Want Fake News?


President Trump continuously rails about “Fake News.” He dismisses news stories or media outlets that he doesn’t like as “fake news.” A database of his public remarks contains 320 references in 2017 to “fake news.” But if you want real fake news, look no further than Trump himself, who is an absolute champion at false claims,…

Some Notes on Jerry Norum


Jerry Norum died earlier this month, at age 84. WC lost a friend, a terrific teacher and a role model. WC’s 5th grade teacher was Dorothy McNavish. If you are of a certain age, your remember a gray-haired woman, hair in a tight bun, lips tightly pursed, carrying an “I’m from Foodland” shopping bag. Yeah,…