Grab Bag – November 5th

First off, it’s Guy Fawkes Night:

In 1605, thirteen young men planned to blow up
the Houses of Parliament. Among them was
Guy Fawkes, Britain’s most notorious traitor.

After Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603, English Catholics who had been persecuted under her rule had hoped that her successor, James I, would be more tolerant of their religion. James I had, after all, had a Catholic mother. Unfortunately, James did not turn out to be more tolerant than Elizabeth and a number of young men, 13 to be exact, decided that violent action was the answer.
Guy Fawkes, who was in the cellar of the parliament with the 36 barrels of gunpowder when the authorities stormed it in the early hours of November 5th, was caught, tortured and executed.
Even for the period which was notoriously unstable, the Gunpowder Plot struck a very profound chord for the people of England. In fact, even today, the reigning monarch only enters the Parliament once a year, on what is called “the State Opening of Parliament”. Prior to the Opening, and according to custom, the Yeomen of the Guard search the cellars of the Palace of Westminster. Nowadays, the Queen and Parliament still observe this tradition.

As a ‘wee lad’ my Mum and I would make a bonfire in the back yard on Guy Fawkes Night. It was never clear, when she said we were celebrating the Gunpowder Plot, were we celebrating that it had been thwarted, or that it had been tried?… (The story was that the Royals demanded folks celebrate the thwarting, so folks DID celebrate… each in their own way…)

This story, and this night, is the foundation of the “V for Vendetta” movie.

AtomBomb – The Unfixable Bug:

Bold bits by me.

AtomBomb: The New Zero-Day Windows Exploit Microsoft Can’t Fix?

Celestial writes:

There’s a new zero-day Microsoft Windows exploit in the wild by the name of AtomBomb, and Microsoft may not be able to fix it.

Ensilo security researchers have discovered a new zero-day exploit in Windows that attackers can make use of to inject and execute malicious code. The researches call the exploit AtomBombing because of its use of a Windows function called Atom Tables.

What’s particularly interesting about the exploit is that it does not rely on security vulnerabilities in Windows components but native Windows functions. This means, according to the researchers, that Microsoft won’t be able to patch the issue.

It is particularly worrying that the issue affects all versions of Windows, and that security programs that run on the system — firewall or antivirus for instance — won’t stop the execution of the exploit.

The technique works in the following way on an abstract level:

Malicious code needs to be executed on a Windows machine. A user might run malicious code for instance.
This code is blocked usually by antivirus software or other security software or policies.
In the case of AtomBombing, the malicious program writes the malicious code in an atom table (which is a legitimate function of Windows and won’t be stopped therefore).
It then uses legitimate processes via APC (Async Procedure Calls) , a web browser for instance, to retrieve the code from the table undetected by security software to execute it.

You can find an extremely detailed explanation of AtomBombing here. Time to run Windows only in VMs?
New code injection attack works on all Windows versions – Help Net Security

MrPlow also submits a story on the same topic via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard:


Now isn’t that just grand… I have no idea how to defend against this attack, or how to fix it, other than for Microsoft to remove the function. Microsoft, just say no… Friends don’t let friends run Microsoft… Or share a network with them…

Pivot TV Bites The Big One

But you already knew that if you watched it.. (where redirects to now…)

Hey Pivot Fans, Thanks For Watching!

We may have said goodbye, but there are still lots of ways to create the change you want to see in the world by taking action here at TakePart. And to continue to get updates on the important issues facing our world, be sure to register below for the TakePart newsletter. By submitting your email, you’ll receive personalized stories on what matters most to you.

Bolding by me.

Pivot was an American digital cable and satellite television network owned by Participant Media. The channel, targeted at young adults between 18 and 34 years old, debuted on August 1, 2013. The channel ceased operations on October 31, 2016.
On August 17, 2016, Participant Media announced that the channel would cease broadcasting by early 2017, citing low ratings, small viewing audiences, and an overall shift away from television by Participant under current CEO David Linde; the channel’s last day of operation was later confirmed to be on October 31st. The channel shut down on October 31st at 6 am Eastern Daylight Time; the last programs on the network were five consecutive showings of the film Good Night, and Good Luck from 7PM on the 30th onward until the shuttering (the film choice was likely a nod to the final words spoken on Pivot’s half-predecessor, Documentary Channel.) No signoff message was given at the end (other than a commercial thanking viewers for watching and telling them what they watch does make a difference, having been run over the last few weeks of the channel’s broadcast, being shown as a split screen during the film’s end credits); rather, the channel merely faded to black after the end of the film, shortly after replaced with a slide from the cable services notifying viewers of the closure

So what’s this Participant Media thing that “made” it?

Participant Media is an American film production company founded in 2004 by Jeffrey Skoll, dedicated to entertainment that inspires and compels social change. The company finances and co-produces films, and its digital hub, TakePart serves millions of socially conscious consumers each month with daily articles, videos and opportunities to take action.

After founding, the company was originally named Participant Productions, troubled from a number of failed attempts and projects subsequently entering development hell, but entered success after a series of trial and error, and went on to become one of the most well-known independent financiers. The company’s name descriptively politicizes its basis on currently topical subjects presented to induce awareness in problematic social aspects.

Yeah, Yet Another Left Wing Nut Emotive Crap Network down in flames… Look, it’s simple, Left Wing Dogma DOES NOT SELL on TV or Radio. You’d think they would have learned that by now. What is it, 5? 6? I’ve lost count… Algores Network, Air America, etc. etc.

Just an FYI – “Climate Violence”…

And I don’t mean hurricanes or tsunami…

There’s a whole lotta Climate Violence it seems… Who Knew?

Do hot climates make people more violent? -…

Jul 7, 2016 … In a new paper, two researchers argue that climate — in the form of the culture it gives rise to — is the primary driver of aggression.

Climate violence and the criminalization of hunger
04/07/2016 03:21 pm ET | Updated Apr 07, 2016

Earlier this week tragic events on the island of Mindao in the Philippines, served as a stark reminder of how climate change and poverty are visiting violence on peasant and indigenous communities across the globe.

Sell that fear and paranoia…

When is a PC not a PC?

I ran into this as an advertisement

How To Make Your Old, Slow Computer Like-New Again (it’s easier than you think!)

September 14, 2016 at 11:49 am EDT | Sponsored by Xtra PC

Clever new device is saving people hundreds (even thousands) and the big computer companies aren’t happy about it!

Is your computer painfully slow? Have you considered buying a new ‘faster’ computer but the price of even a basic one makes you cringe? Do you wish there was a cheaper, more affordable way to get a new computer? (Hint: there is – keep reading.)

It’s incredibly frustrating when computers slow down or stop working for seemingly no reason at all. And even after all the diagnostics, upgrades, and money spent, the amount of time waiting for that spinning wheel or hourglass to disappear never seems to get any shorter. Your once new, lightning-fast, computer just keeps getting slower as each day passes.

Well, fortunately, there’s a new device that has recently hit the market and it’s literally giving old, slow computers lightning fast speed again. And to say it’s extremely affordable is grossly understated!
What is It?

It’s called Xtra-PC and if you have an old, slow computer, it is exactly what you’ve been waiting for.
How Does it Work?

Super easy! In fact, it’s so easy that it’s like snapping your fingers and watching your old computer magically turn into the new, super-fast computer you want it to be. All you have to do is…

Plug it in – Simply plug Xtra-PC into a USB port while your computer is turned off.
Turn Your Computer On – Select ‘Boot from USB’ and bingo, you’re good to go.
Enjoy New PC – In less than 15 minutes you’ll be shocked at the difference in the performance of your computer.

You only have to setup Xtra-PC once and you can even use it on multiple computers!
Watch This Video For A Closer Look At How Xtra-PC Works!

It goes on at some length, never telling you what it really is. It’s just a magic dongle you plug in… But run the embedded video and it comes out that it’s a USB drive with Linux on it, usable on 2004 and newer PCs with a boot from USB option in the BIOS. $24.95

Lifehacker says it worked OK:

Xtra-PC Helps Non-Technical People Install Linux on an Old PC
Dave Greenbaum
If you still have an old PC, you’re in luck. A new Linux distribution based on Lubuntu will give any old PC a new lease on life, designed for non-technical users and optimized for popular web sites.

We covered some ways of installing Linux on an old Windows XP computer before, but Xtra-PC makes the process easy for non-technical people—and it comes with a lot of popular stuff set up out of the box. You can run the product off the DVD, a flash drive, or install it directly to the hard drive (erasing the old operating system). I tried it on a few different XP-era computers and didn’t need any drivers. Even wireless and Ethernet worked perfectly.

Xtra-PC includes links for Facebook, Minecraft, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix, and optimizes Chromium with the correct plug-ins. Other web-based products like Google Docs work just like you’d expect with any other OS. You could do this yourself, of course, but for $15, Xtra-PC does it for you and provides support—perfect for non-technical people who need an extra computer that’s less likely to get viruses.

Xtra-PC ($14.99 DVD, $9.99 Download)

Hmmm….. $10 for a ‘download”? Doesn’t the FOSS / Copy Left require that the source code be available free? Oh, right, then you have to compile your own… but skiping some links you eventually get to:

Source Code
Xtra-PC will provide source code upon request.
Please make your request to
subject: Source code request

I’m sure they will then ship it to you… on 8 x 10 white bond, single spaced…

Here At The End

That’s it for this Grab Bag. More odds and ends as I end up with more odds…

Subscribe to feed


About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in AGW and GIStemp Issues, History, Human Interest, Political Current Events, Tech Bits and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Grab Bag – November 5th

  1. Wayne Job says:

    Guy Fawkes night in my little community when I was a kid, about sixty years ago was huge.
    My community was not a town but a country area with a general store and post office, and a one room school. One of the locals had a property with an apple orchard, this was only a cover for he made good money as an illegal starting price book maker. That said on Guy Fawkes night he would invite the entire community to his place for a bonfire, we are talking one you could see from the moon. He would personally hand every child a bag of fire works you could hardly carry, us children had enough gunpowder to blow up parliament. He also had a professional fire works display that ran for at least an hour. Good fun time, no PC bullshit and safe places needed. Wayne

  2. Graeme No.3 says:

    With many Members of the UK Parliament keen to ignore the wishes of the voters, e.g. by reversing Brexit, they might well be advised to search the cellars more often.

  3. philjourdan says:

    Don’t ever invite a vampire into your house, you silly boy. It renders you powerless.

    – Max, The Lost Boys

    I have told people that from day one. Most AV/Security programs cannot help you if you willingly let the malicious software in. But that is the key – letting it in to begin with.

    So at the current stage of the game, it is not much different than phishing attacks and other attacks. The only difference I can see is that clean up programs cannot detect it once you are infected (I suspect that will change shortly). But then rule #2 of an infected computer – Reload the OS fresh.

  4. pg sharrow says:

    @EMSmith; An addition to your grab bag of interesting things:

    Late bronze or early iron age brewing of drink…..mead/beer? a type of mead known as braggot,

    very interesting bronze cauldron/brewpot, must have been quite a prize to chieftains of that age. Looks to be about 2ft dia.

    100 year beer and yeast, interesting ageing taste development.
    “three dusty beer bottles —still corked, full of liquid, and bearing their old-school Carlsberg labels “….pg

  5. E.M.Smith says:


    That’s also part of why I have several diverse systems, images, platforms, and different disks offline for different things. It makes the “house” smaller when something gets into it….


    Fun articles… Led me to this one too:

    Chinese were using Barley for beer 1000 years earlier than thought prior… In about 3000 BC. Looks like they had barley, but were not eating barley, saving it for the beer making ;-)

    “Our findings imply that early beer making may have motivated the initial translocation of barley from western Eurasia into the Central Plain of China before the crop became a part of agricultural subsistence in the region 3,000 years later,” the researchers wrote.

    It’s even possible that beer-making technology aided the development of complex human societies in the region, the researchers said. “Like other alcoholic beverages, beer is one of the most widely used and versatile drugs in the world, and it has been used for negotiating different kinds of social relationships,” the archaeologists wrote.

    “The production and consumption of Yangshao beer may have contributed to the emergence of hierarchical societies in the Central Plain, the region known as ‘the cradle of Chinese civilization,'” they added.

    Yup, “Beer, the foundation of civilization. -E.M.Smith”… even in China, it seems…

    Though they did have the good sense to recognize the much much earlier origins in Babylon…

    Barley is used to make beer because it has high levels of amylase enzymes that promote the conversion of starches into sugars during the fermenting process. It was first cultivated in western Asia and might have been used to make beer in ancient Sumer and Babylonia more than 8,000 years ago, according to historians.

  6. pg sharrow says:

    I will point out again, You do not have to cultivate grains to be able to collect them! Wild grains grow very well on their own without human intervention. all you need to do is glean the ripe heads from the stalks. More then enough will shatter out to reseed the next years growth. Grains existed for millions of years before humans came along. Barley is very easy to pick or glean but is poor for human food because of it’s hard husk that is tightly bound to the seed. Sprouting and then grinding or chewing is the only to get sustenance out of it and remove the tough husk. Beer is a quick thing that GOD makes once the gruel is created…pg

  7. E.M.Smith says:


    Barley also has fiber through the whole kernel (why it works well in soups!) but that makes it very hard to chew! Best thing you can do with it is feed it to a chicken or make beer (or both, for a really nice BBQ w suds ;-)

    FWIW one of my “things to do” while driving or walking is to point out edible plants (even if only to myself…) It is amazing just how much of the “weeds” to most folks are in fact mustard, radishes, wild barley (here often called ‘foxtail’…) etc. etc. A PITA to collect compared to the grocery store, but much of the annual carpet of weeds is edible…

    Sidebar: Posting from the 1 core old HP laptop with Void Linux / Enlightenment. Enlightenment is sucking up 1/2 to 3/4 of the CPU almost constantly. Going to 87% when I resize a window. I’m thinking maybe it’s Enlightenment that’s the slow doggy bit, not Void itself… So I’m going to ditch this SD card image and respin it with xfe or something lighter… I have it running from a ‘live image’ installed to RAM (2 GB used… 79 MB free, with just Firefox and ‘top’ running) so it ought to be damnfast, but it isn’t… Debian on a stick is way faster, similarly booted, but isn’t using Enlightenment for the GUI.

  8. pg sharrow says:

    @pouncer; looked at this thing 2 years ago;
    It appears to me that the “thrust” is a result of exterior warping of the Aether much the same as gravity is created by the static charge difference between mater and the Aether. A concept that I have been working on for 30 years.
    I believe that an electrical space drive can be created. This is the thing that Tesla was working on that yielded all of his other wondrous inventions.
    Mass/inertia and therefor gravity are all manifestations of the same thing.

  9. Pingback: Hacks, Leaks, Investigations, Evidence – Leaps… | Musings from the Chiefio

  10. Pingback: A1 – community

Comments are closed.