B12 Solipsism

Spreading confusion over the internet since 1994

Abstraction in Ice And Glass, Number 27 was uploaded to Flickr

Chicago skyline as viewed through ice, brightly

embiggen by clicking
http://flic.kr/p/roc4mS

I took Abstraction in Ice And Glass, Number 27 on February 27, 2015 at 02:22PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on March 01, 2015 at 07:32PM

Written by eggplant

March 1st, 2015 at 1:51 pm

Abstraction in Ice and Glass, Number 23 was uploaded to Flickr

Iced window, Chicago

embiggen by clicking
http://flic.kr/p/rphmaw

I took Abstraction in Ice and Glass, Number 23 on February 27, 2015 at 02:22PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on February 28, 2015 at 05:10PM

Written by eggplant

February 28th, 2015 at 12:52 pm

More New Jobs Are in City Centers Not In Suburbs

Nothing Ever Stays The Same
Nothing Ever Stays The Same.

I’ve long predicted this trend – why would anyone willingly work in a soulless suburban office park instead of in a vibrant downtown? Even parents happily enrolling their kids in suburban schools still get bored and head for the city when it is time for some culture. Strip malls  just don’t have the same energy. Cities are not perfect, but they are where the action is. 

For decades, most Americans working in metropolitan areas have gone to work outside city centers – in suburban office parks, stores or plants, not downtown skyscrapers. But as people increasingly choose to live in cities instead of outside them, employers are following.

In recent years, employment in city centers has grown and employment in the surrounding suburban areas has shrunk, a striking change from the years before, according to a report published Tuesday by City Observatory, a think tank.

Cities with a high concentration of urban jobs include Austin, New Orleans and Portland, Ore. In Atlanta, Los Angeles and Miami, meanwhile, less than 10 percent of jobs are in the urban core.

The 110-story Willis Tower in downtown Chicago is a microcosm of the shifting geography of jobs. Originally called the Sears Tower, it was built in 1970 by Sears Roebuck and Co. But in 1988, Sears left it for a green suburban campus in Hoffman Estates, Ill. Then, in 2013, United Airlines moved its world headquarters and 4,000 employees into the tower. Other companies like Motorola Mobility and Archer Daniels Midland have also recently relocated to downtown Chicago from suburban campuses.

Chicago has gained more creative jobs, international tourism, university centers and residential development. The Chicago Loop, the city’s central business district, has been transformed from a financial district that emptied at 5 p.m. to a seven-day-a-week entertainment zone, said Aaron Renn, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

The changes have been driven in part by employees wanting to live and work downtown, said Mr. Renn, who writes the Urbanophile blog: “Today there is more of an expectation on the part of both people and employers that they have to be more flexible and accommodating of their work force.”

(click here to continue reading More New Jobs Are in City Centers, While Employment Growth Shrinks in the Suburbs – NYTimes.com.)

As an aside, this is why I usually find the corporate threats to leave and go somewhere else so hollow – do employees of 3 Initial Corp., or whichever entity currently has their hand out for taxpayer largesse, really want to move to Podunk land? Probably not…

Now, if we could only convince politicians that investment in such urban-friendly items as public transit, infrastructure improvements and the like is good for the long term health of the nation…

Written by Seth Anderson

February 26th, 2015 at 7:35 pm

Posted in News-esque

Tagged with ,

Flaunting Civic Responsibility Without Repercussions was uploaded to Flickr

So the owner of this parking lot-soon-to-be-something else (a hotel or an office building most likely) refuses to shovel their sidewalk. They didn’t shovel it after the snow in January, and in fact, since it warmed up a bit, this block is now solid ice. Seriously, you can skate the length of this block of Randolph.

Looks like the owner of the pin is JHM Hotels Inc, per this article from a couple years ago:
http://ift.tt/1BVJ7eW…
Last year, JHM Hotels paid $4.1 million for a, 11,700-square-foot parcel at 150 N. Jefferson St. near the Ogilvie Transportation Center in Chicago’s West Loop, where it plans to build a boutique hotel.

Maybe because they are a large corporation, the City of Chicago doesn’t want to tell them to follow the law and make the sidewalk passable.

I filed a report with the City’s 311 service on 2/6/15

Thank you for submitting your Snow – Uncleared Sidewalk service request on February 06, 2015.

no response as of yet, I still see pedestrians falling down, trying to navigate this block.

embiggen by clicking
http://flic.kr/p/qq3fBj

I took Flaunting Civic Responsibility Without Repercussions on February 24, 2015 at 12:58PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on February 25, 2015 at 08:01PM

Written by eggplant

February 25th, 2015 at 7:18 pm

While Your Train Gently Squeaks was uploaded to Flickr

well, maybe not so gently…

embiggen by clicking
http://flic.kr/p/qpPhZG

I took While Your Train Gently Squeaks on February 19, 2015 at 05:05PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on February 25, 2015 at 02:35PM

Written by eggplant

February 25th, 2015 at 12:04 pm

Americans should drink more coffee

Morning Coffee Ritual
Morning Coffee Ritual

Since I’m descended from the Murphy clan, who habitually drink coffee by the gallon daily for the last 70 years, I’ve always been a coffee enthusiast.

When the nation’s top nutrition panel released its latest dietary recommendations on Thursday, the group did something it had never done before: weigh in on whether people should be drinking coffee. What it had to say is pretty surprising.

Not only can people stop worrying about whether drinking coffee is bad for them, according to the panel, they might even want to consider drinking a bit more.

The panel cited minimal health risks associated with drinking between three and five cups per day. It also said that consuming as many as five cups of coffee each day (400 mg) is tied to several health benefits, including a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

“We saw that coffee has a lot of health benefits,” said Miriam Nelson, a professor at Tufts University and one of the committee’s members. “Specifically when you’re drinking more than a couple cups per day.”

That’s great news if you’re already drinking between three and five cups each day, which Nelson and the rest of the panel consider a “moderate” level of consumption.

(click here to continue reading It’s official: Americans should drink more coffee – The Washington Post.)

About 1250 ml of water
About 1250 ml of water

Well, I should be safe. Every morning, as part of my current coffee ritual, I pour about 1250 ml of water from my 5-stage Reverse Osmosis filter into a pot, boil it. Meanwhile, I grind fresh coffee beans in a burr grinder, and place them in a paper filter, held in place with a ceramic cone. The cone is placed above a coffee thermos, and then I pour the hot water slowly over the grounds. My carafe only holds 1000 ml, so when it is about half full, I pour out the days first cup, then continue pouring the hot water over the coffee grounds.

1250 ml is roughly 5 8 oz cups1 – that is perfect for me. Later in the day, if I need more, I’ll either make a single cup, or an espresso, or some days switch to black or green tea.

Pour Over Coffee
Pour Over Coffee

For several years, I had switched to a French press, but got tired of the film and sediment, so started making pour-over coffee again.

Footnotes:
  1. 42.268 oz []

Written by Seth Anderson

February 25th, 2015 at 9:14 am

Posted in Food and Drink,health,science

Tagged with ,

The Breakfast Club 30 years later

"You load up. You party"

A photo posted by Seth Anderson (@swanksalot) on

I graduated from high school in 1986, so the Breakfast Club will always have a certain resonance for me. Coincidentally, I watched the film a few months ago (for the first time since seeing it in a theater in Austin) – verdict, good film, not great, but watchable.

Make it a double feature with Slacker (filled with people I knew or at least recognized from Austin’s streets), and you have a decent biosketch of a lot of people my age.

Hanging over the film is a dread that no matter how cool or rebellious or thoughtful you may be, we all become our parents. Well, sounds good: Socioeconomically speaking, this generation (according to too many studies to mention) will be the first in 60 years to have smaller incomes, greater student-loan debt and higher unemployment than the previous generation. Said Daniel Siegel, the esteemed clinical psychiatrist and author of “The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are”: “The upside may be an increased quality of life than generations before this one. Science supports that if you don’t reflect on what happened to you as a child, it is highly probable you will re-enact the behaviors of your parents. Under stress, those qualities really come out. Culture may change, but that fundamental reality hasn’t. But it could be this generation is more reflective. The more mindful you are, the more you release yourself from matters of the past, and I think that mindfulness is being encouraged more than back in 1985.”

The critical assessment

“The Breakfast Club” made $51 million on a modest budget of $1 million. Chicago reviews were generous: Roger Ebert (“a surprisingly good ear”) and Gene Siskel (“thoroughly serious”) raised their thumbs. Elsewhere, notice was mixed. Kirk Honeycutt, then film critic for the Los Angeles Daily News (and later the Hollywood Reporter), remembers: “I thought the movie was a little pat, a little too eager to blame parents, then go home.” These days, it’s seen as Hughes’ defining work, an ’80s touchstone with a Rotten Tomatoes approval (consisting of mostly blog reviews) of 91 percent. It is in a way a reminder that nostalgia and reassessment take an outsize role in deciding what becomes a classic. Honeycutt, for instance, has a new book: “John Hughes: A Life in Film.” He told me: “A lot of critics didn’t treat (Hughes) fairly. I think we were too worried about, say, Woody Allen. These kid problems looked overblown. We missed the relevance. Hughes was making a point about how it felt to be a teen, and we missed it with “Breakfast Club.” I failed it too. But then, a good film — you see something new each time. And 30 years later, I’ve changed my mind.”

(click here to continue reading The Breakfast Club 30 years later, how culture has changed – Chicago Tribune.)

Written by Seth Anderson

February 18th, 2015 at 10:03 am

Posted in Film

Tagged with , , ,

Anarchists, Communists and Tubas, Oh My was uploaded to Flickr

May Day, Haymarket Riot Memorial, Chicago.

(Note: I have no idea of anyone’s politics in this double exposure, just making a joke)

embiggen by clicking
http://flic.kr/p/qVmYWV

I took Anarchists, Communists and Tubas, Oh My on May 01, 2014 at 03:53PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on February 15, 2015 at 10:40PM

Written by eggplant

February 15th, 2015 at 4:51 pm

Every False Thing Ends was uploaded to Flickr

Franklin St. Bridge in the rain

embiggen by clicking
http://flic.kr/p/raHLho

I took Every False Thing Ends on December 22, 2014 at 03:32PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on February 13, 2015 at 04:46PM

Written by eggplant

February 13th, 2015 at 11:13 am

Cloudscape Number 2199 was uploaded to Flickr

West Loop a couple of summers ago

embiggen by clicking
http://flic.kr/p/ra1UkH

I took Cloudscape Number 2199 on July 01, 2011 at 12:51PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on February 12, 2015 at 03:46PM

Written by eggplant

February 12th, 2015 at 3:08 pm

PHP memory limit

Enraged
Hmm, weird. I changed the value of the PHP.ini value in memory_limit to 194M, and then my site crashed and burned. Either I made a typo (unlikely, but possible, I guess), or this value is not unlimited. I’m getting memory errors trying to install iThemes Security Pro, so thought to increase the PHP memory allocation. Something is still awry with everything, but I’m not sure what, yet.

Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 67108864 bytes exhausted (tried
to allocate 122880 bytes)

Truth and Mister Rogers

Truth and Mister Rogers


I’m also getting errors while using my long-time blogging tool, the incredibly useful MarsEdit, so am attempting to post directly from the WordPress dashboard for a change.

Can’t post for B12 Partners Solipsism because the server reported an error: unexpected response code 500.

Written by Seth Anderson

February 11th, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Posted in blog

Low-fat diet advice was based on undercooked science

Lobster Spring Roll - Japonais
Lobster Spring Roll.

As a follow-up to revision to the US government’s advice about cholesterol, we read this tidbit yesterday…

An international team of health scientists has completed a systematic study of the evidence available back in the 1970s and ’80s and concluded that a relationship of causation between fat consumption and coronary heart disease was never established. The researchers found just six studies that fit the criteria to be considered proper randomized controlled trials, all limited to male subjects and most addressing the proportion of fat in the diet only indirectly.

“Government dietary fat recommendations were untested in any trial prior to being introduced,” writes Zoe Harcombe of the University of the West of Scotland, lead author of the study. Despite this, “to date, no analysis of the evidence base for these recommendations has been undertaken,” which is what prompted Harcombe and her team to conduct their investigation.

From among the data on various diet types that was available, there were no differences in the number of deaths from all causes, and no statistically significant changes in death from cardiovascular disease. Eating less fat was not shown to improve a person’s heart health, even where changes in diet led to a reduction in blood cholesterol levels. “It seems incomprehensible that dietary advice was introduced for 220 million Americans and 56 million UK citizens, given the contrary results from a small number of unhealthy men,” comments Harcombe.

At the time of issuing the original 1977 Dietary Goals for the United States, better known as the McGovern report, the Senate Committee’s lead nutritionist, Dr. Hegsted of Harvard University, admitted that the evidence base was for the advice was somewhat lacking. “There will undoubtedly be many people who will say we have not … demonstrated that the dietary modifications we recommend will yield the dividend expected,” remarked Hegsted. But his counterargument was that there was more to gain from switching to the recommended diet than there was to lose. Beyond reducing fat intake, the Dietary Goals also urged a reduction in the consumption of salt and sugar, whose deleterious health effects have been far better established.

(click here to continue reading Low-fat diet advice was based on undercooked science | The Verge.)

Oh boy, so 40 years of bad advice from the government and corporate allies all based on incomplete science. Seems like someone should have said something, oh, maybe a few years later? Ten years later? Twenty years later? Ten years ago? 

Written by Seth Anderson

February 11th, 2015 at 11:52 am

US poised to withdraw longstanding warnings about cholesterol

Cajun Campfire Breakfast
Cajun Campfire Breakfast

An amazing sea change in nutritional policy. Just think of all the times you’ve heard to avoid cholesterol-laden foods like eggs.

The nation’s top nutrition advisory panel will drop its caution about eating cholesterol-laden food, a move that could undo almost 40 years of government warnings.

The group’s finding that cholesterol in the diet need no longer be considered a ‘‘nutrient of concern’’ stands in contrast to its findings five years ago, the last time it convened. During those proceedings, as in previous years, the panel deemed ‘‘excess dietary cholesterol’’ a public health concern.

The new view does not reverse warnings about high levels of ‘‘bad’’ cholesterol in the blood, which have been linked to heart disease. Moreover, some experts warn that people with particular problems, such as diabetes, should continue to avoid cholesterol-rich diets.

But the finding follows an evolution of thinking among many nutritionists who now say that, for a healthy adult, cholesterol intake may not significantly affect the level of cholesterol in the blood or increase the risk of heart disease.

The greater danger, according to this line of thought, lies in foods heavy with trans fats and saturated fats.

The panel’s report will be the basis for the next version of the ‘‘Dietary Guidelines,’’ a federal publication that has broad effects on the American diet. A person with direct knowledge of the proceedings said the cholesterol finding would make it into the group’s final report.

(click here to continue reading US poised to withdraw longstanding warnings about cholesterol – Nation – The Boston Globe.)

For me, I’ve never particularly hewed closely to these guidelines (I’ve eaten eggs more mornings than not the last 45 years, sometimes with bacon, or cooked in butter!), but still will be happy to see these guidelines revised.

O'Shaughnessy's Irish Breakfast
O’Shaughnessy’s Irish Breakfast

HHS’s Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion has the administrative leadership for the 2015 edition and is strongly supported by USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion in Committee and process management, and evidence analysis functions. The Departments jointly review the Committee’s recommendations and develop and publish the revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans policy document.

Recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are intended for Americans ages 2 years and over, including those at increased risk of chronic disease, and provide the basis for federal food and nutrition policy and education initiatives. The Dietary Guidelines encourage Americans to focus on eating a healthful diet—one that focuses on foods and beverages that help achieve and maintain a healthy weight, promote health, and prevent disease.

The first edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans was released in 1980. As mandated in Section 301 of the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 5341), the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is reviewed, updated, and published every 5 years in a joint effort between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Beginning with the 1985 edition, HHS and USDA have appointed a Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) consisting of nationally recognized experts in the field of nutrition and health. The charge to the Committee is to review the scientific and medical knowledge current at the time. The Committee then prepares a report for the Secretaries that provides recommendations for the next edition of the Dietary Guidelines based on their review of current literature.

(click here to continue reading Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015 | Dietary Guidelines for Americans | Health.gov (ODPHP).)

Written by Seth Anderson

February 11th, 2015 at 10:12 am

Sus Saves was uploaded to Flickr

South Loop

embiggen by clicking
http://flic.kr/p/r8tmKB

I took Sus Saves on June 23, 2011 at 08:00PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on February 10, 2015 at 05:14PM

Written by eggplant

February 10th, 2015 at 2:07 pm

PHP Script Hack Infected All Of my WordPress Blogs

 Computer Repair LED

Server Repair. 

Yesterday, I logged on to my WordPress Dashboard to see if any upgrades were available. I usually log on a few times a week, depending upon how actively I’ve blogged, or if I know of a WordPress upgrade. Once I logged on, I got an odd message that my plugins didn’t load because something was wrong with their headers. I clicked the Plugins menu to see what was going on, and instead, there was a message saying “You do not appear to have any plugins available at this time.” 

 Whu? WTF?!?!

Earlier in the week, the same thing had happened to my photo blog – plugins suddenly were non-functional. I was in the middle of a work-related crisis, so asked my cousin, the WordPress expert who actually constructed the photo blog, to look into it. He found malware, restored the photo blog to an earlier version with a backup, and it seemed ok. Since I was still sweating out the work-related crises, I didn’t look deeper. The photo blog seemed to work ok.

But now my blog was doing the same thing, and I had some time to investigate. I logged in to my site via FTP, and looked in the plugins folder. Several plugins were there. I opened one plugin directory, and one PHP file1 at random: the first line was a long string of code, obviously some sort of malware. Ru-oh! I renamed the plugins folder, which rendered it unusable by WordPress, created a new folder called plugins, and quickly installed a fresh copy of Akismet, a spam comment blocker. In the 15 minutes or so it took from when I first encountered an error until when I reinstalled Akismet, I received 59 spam comments! Yeesh. 

I looked at the various WordPress PHP files, bits of code that make the blog do what it does, every single one had the same piece of malware inserted in the first line. I reinstalled WordPress, which creates fresh copies of the majority of PHP files in wp-admin; in wp-includes and in the default WordPress directory. However, some files were not replaced, I had to open them manually and strip out the malware. Reinstalling WordPress does not touch anything in wp-content – themes, plugins, etc. I did not have backup copies of my Solipsism theme for some reason, so I had to clean several files here manually. Initially I mucked this procedure up by stripping out some good code as well, but eventually I figured out what was missing.2

I took a deeper look at my photo blog, and though the plugins were clean, and the theme files were clean, all other PHP files were corrupted. Again, I reinstalled a fresh copy of WordPress 4.1, and manually cleaned the remaining files (wp-config.php; wp-pass.php, wp-feed.php and so on).

You Do Not Have Any Plugins Available
You Do Not Have Any Plugins Available.PNG

I host a couple of subdomains3 which are static paged WordPress installations, both of these directories were full of the malware code. In fact, in the process of cleaning up, I discovered what the malware did. On both of these subdomains, there was a plugin directory called, innocuously enough, docs. I didn’t install this plugin, so I was curious what it did. I looked inside its directory, and found a directory called “cache”. In here were nearly 500 files with names like “29fb82abf5c8a42d970f94eed9d69ebf.dat”, and an XML file that indexed these pages using the subdomain’s URL. I opened one of these files with a text editor4 – it was a HTML-type page with the title of “Resume Writing Lookout Heights Kentucky KY 24/7 – Best Resume Writing Services”. The others were similar: “Cv Services Darwin  * Best Resume Writing Services 2014 – Jake Bradshaw”; “Payday Loans Near Augusta Ga ! <  24/7 Online Payday Loans”; etc. 

The HTML was horribly mangled, I would be surprised if it did anything, but maybe it would be enough if Google indexed a link pointing to some schmoe who paid a consultant for Search Engine Optimization. But maybe not. 

For instance, a portion of that particular spam page opened in a web browser looks exactly like this:

Create alert Self experiencing problems with problem with your consult an experienced for example, an e-mail, which is suitable day work. Diamond Call Ross on employer should protect a union, they but it would. Kentucky Diamond View all Altisource Vacations Worldwide jobs jobs Learn more about working at Altisource You can below, together with spending 2-6 hours a day at home This work can be done Colleges Equal Opportunity Williamsburg, Virginia – be at least High School diploma. Diamond

Whatever. I deleted these as soon as I could, shaking my fist at the evil spammer.

I found a few PHP files in my root level directory, I deleted these or cleaned them as needed.

I had tried to install a Drupal blog a while ago, before abandoning it as a futile, frustrating endeavor, but the files were still residing on my server, and all its PHP files were compromised. 

I put in a tech-support request to Pair.com, my web-host, asking them to double check if any PHP files remained that were corrupted, I haven’t yet heard back from them. But I think I cleaned up all the malware, all it took was eight hours of work on a Saturday night…

Today I’m planning on looking deeper into the MYSQL databases, and see if there are any unknown users or other oddnesses, and maybe change all my passwords. I’m not sure how the evil spammers were able to insert the malicious code, but I don’t want to have to go through all this again. Oh, and make backups! and backups of the backups!

Footnotes:
  1. PHP is a server-side scripting language []
  2. I think the blog is back to normal, if you see anything odd, please let me know. []
  3. clients’ web pages []
  4. I use TextWrangler since it is free. I should buy BBEdit, but I never get around to budgeting for it []

Written by Seth Anderson

February 8th, 2015 at 1:54 pm

Posted in blog

Tagged with , , ,