NSA tracking and predicting citizen’s movements, meetings.

06 Jun

It hit the news today that Obama’s NSA has been requiring Verizon (and possibly all cell-phone carriers) to submit daily records of every call including the caller’s location. This is enough data to track data on citizens – and predict it with a very high degree of accuracy.

The government is tracking and predicting your conversations, movements, and meetings. Seems fairly handy for tracking and targeting citizens on Obama’s Enemies List.

From The Guardian:

The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.

The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the government unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19.

Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.

The court order expressly bars Verizon from disclosing to the public either the existence of the FBI’s request for its customers’ records, or the court order itself.

The order directs Verizon to “continue production on an ongoing daily basis thereafter for the duration of this order”. It specifies that the records to be produced include “session identifying information”, such as “originating and terminating number”, the duration of each call, telephone calling card numbers, trunk identifiers, International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) number, and “comprehensive communication routing information”.

[read more in The Guardian]

Sound familiar? Here’s from an article that ran in 2010 on a topic that’s hit the news a few times since then. Using the data specifically required by Obama’s NSA, citizens can be not only tracked, but also predicted. Who is meeting with whom, where, at what frequency, etc.:

In a study published in last week’s Science, researchers looked at customer location data culled from cellular service providers. By looking at how customers moved around, the authors of the study found that it may be possible to predict human movement patterns and location up to 93 percent of the time. These findings may be useful in multiple fields, including city planning, mobile communication resource management, and anticipating the spread of viruses. [read more at arstechina ]

And from the Daily Mail last year:

Scientists have found a way of predicting an individual’s future movements by analysing information their mobile phone.

A team of computer scientists at the University of Birmingham successfully predicted future locations with an error margin of just 60ft, which has fuelled fears of privacy invasions. [Read more from the Daily Mail article]

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Bored or Scared? The Call to Adventure

19 Mar

Years ago, Brad Widstrom of Denver Seminary was volunteering alongside us in a youth ministry while we were in the process of becoming certified to adopt. He shared the story of someone who left a secure and well paying job for a life in full-time ministry. When asked why, he said something along the lines of:

It came down to the choice: would we rather be bored or scared?

Doing the right thing is often scary, uncomfortable, and risky. The choice is the Call to Adventure, which Joseph Campbell pointed out in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, is the first real step of the hero’s journey.

The Call to Adventure, which happens at about the 10 percent point in movies and anywhere from the 10 to 25 percent point in novels, which can be more loosely structured than movies, is what jars the Hero out of his everyday world and ultimately gets him to cross the Threshold into the Mythological Woods and Initiation and onto the Journey proper.

It’s the red pill or the blue pill in the Matrix, the storm of letters for Harry Potter (and there’s a call to adventure in the other 6 books as well), the electronic help message in The Incredibles, and the death of Peter Parker’s uncle. It’s the conductor calling in the Polar Express, and the open Wardrobe to Narnia.

The Call to Adventure is there every time you read the Bible. You’ll be surprised if you’re open to seeing it, it’s everywhere. Try reading the Sermon on the Mount and looking for the Call to Adventure. It’s full of invitations to reconsider what you believe and how you live – invitations to change everything, and embark on the adventure.

People tend to ignore the Call to Adventure because the prospect of everything changing is uncomfortable, which is why the hero is rare – not everyone accepts the call. Yet we’ve found that the choice of doing the right thing is often a Call to Adventure, a choice with the potential to change the course of our lives and how we live in the world. God is constantly offering us the choice to join into an adventure, large or small.

Today, look for the call to adventure. Look for the choice to do something different, to change your actions and change everything. Even if it’s scary. Doing the right thing often is.


J River Media Center 18: Streaming Web Radio via DLNA

01 Mar

Today I turned on a talk radio station and momentarily heard a friend of my calling into the Dennis Prager show.

I recently started using J River Media Center 18. The capabilities are great, but the documentation is sometimes unhelpful.

On my Android phone I can listen to streaming radio via apps like TuneIn, but it would have been great if in a few taps on my phone I could have pushed the streaming radio to our DLNA-enabled TV or Blu-Ray player to go through the sound system connected to them.  I searched the web and didn’t find any answers, but I did get a very fast response on their web forum that sent me in the right direction.

Here’s a tutorial on how to get streaming web resources like Internet Radio available to play on Gizmo or to send to different Zones or DLNA devices.


1. Go to and find the Web Radio streaming URL. Right click on the link and select Copy Link Location.

2. JRiver In Media Center 18, click File, Open URL…

3. Paste the station URL and check the box to “Show web media options…”

4. Check the “Add stream to web media” checkbox, and you may want to check “Keep using this answer.”

5.After a moment the station will begin to play and you’ll see the station listed in the library under Audio > Connected Media > My Connected Media. Right click and click Tag or just Alt+Enter to rename the stream.

6. Right click and send to a playlist. The first time I clicked “Create Playlist” and created one called “Streaming Radio.” You can also click and drag the item to your playlist.

7.On Gizmo, connect to the server and select the playback zone. My playback zone was my Panasonic Viera UT50 tv as you can see from my screenshot. Tap Playlists.

8. Tap your new playlist (mine is Streaming Radio)

9.Select your station

10. After a moment the Gizmo app will show the Playing Now Screen

11. Enjoy the streaming radio on your DLNA device.


Talk with people who disagree

04 Jan

I’m at an independent (Christian run) coffee shop listening to someone talk about how religion is horse-**** (she’s said this extremely lady-like term at least 15 20 times in the last few minutes to describe people who disagree with her) and what idiots people are for wanting prayer in school or Christmas to be called “Christmas.”

Clearly she’s not thinking objectively and is speaking out of real anger and disrespect, likely in reaction to something negative she experienced. It also seems that she’s getting her impression of Christians from news stories who portray religious people as dolts, as I don’t know people like those she describes.

Her friend is listening and agreeing with everything, about how right they are, how ignorant everyone is who disagrees, etc.

As ignorant and inappropriate as the discussion sounds, it reminds me of a few recent gatherings of people equally like-minded loudly agreeing on political and religious issues, declaring anyone who disagrees to be an idiot. The attitude is identical.

We should be talking to people who disagree with us, not just those who will pat us on the back. We should have enough respect for people who differ from us to not refer to them as “full of horse-****” or use more church-friendly terminology to insult them as people. None of us are the standard for truth, and all of us can have our opinions refined and corrected if we’re willing to listen.

But we don’t listen. We’re more concerned with saying that we’re right rather than becoming more right by realizing we always have room for growth; we always have room for our views to be refined or changed altogether.

We’re equally as guilty and judgmental and derogatory to others – not loving our neighbors as ourselves – as the potty-mouthed woman in the coffee shop. We’re just slightly censored potty-mouthed people in churches.


The Fathers are Gone.

27 Dec

In every state, the portion of families where children have two parents, rather than one, has dropped significantly over the past decade. Even as the country added 160,000 families with children, the number of two-parent households decreased by 1.2 million. Fifteen million U.S. children, or 1 in 3, live without a father, and nearly 5 million live without a mother. In 1960, just 11 percent of American children lived in homes without fathers.

America is awash in poverty, crime, drugs and other problems, but more than perhaps anything else, it all comes down to this, said Vincent DiCaro, vice president of the National Fatherhood Initiative: Deal with absent fathers, and the rest follows.

Read the full story


Putin to Ban Adoptions of Russian Orphans

27 Dec

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he will sign a controversial bill that will ban Americans from adopting Russian children.

Parliament’s upper house voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of the measure.

The bill is widely seen as the Kremlin’s retaliation against an American law that calls for sanctions against Russians deemed to be human rights violators. It comes as Putin takes an increasingly confrontational attitude toward the West, brushing aside concerns about a crackdown on dissent and democratic freedoms.

Dozens of Russian children close to being adopted by American families now will almost certainly be blocked from leaving the country. The law also cuts off the main international adoption route for Russian children stuck in often dismal orphanages: Tens of thousands of Russian youngsters have been adopted in the U.S. in the past 20 years. There are about 740,000 children without parental care in Russia, according to UNICEF.

Read the full story.


Chesterton’s Everlasting Man, Introduction [quotes]

05 Dec

The point of this book, in other words, is that the next best thing to being really inside Christendom is to be really outside it. And a particular point of it is that the popular critics of Christianity are not really outside it. They lllll are on a debatable ground, in every sense of the term. They are doubtful in their very doubts. Their criticism has taken on a curious tone; as of a random and illiterate heckling. Thus they make current and anti-clerical cant as a sort of small-talk. They will complain of parsons dressing like parsons; as if we should be any more free if all the police who shadowed or collared us were plain clothes detectives. Or they will complain that a sermon cannot be interrupted, and call a pulpit a coward’s castle; though they do not call an editor’s office a coward’s castle. It would be unjust both to journalists and priests; but it would be much truer of journalist. The clergyman appears in person and could easily be kicked as he came out of church; the journalist conceals even his name so that nobody can kick him. They write wild and pointless articles and letters in the press about why the churches are empty, without even going there to find out if they are empty, or which of them are empty.

Now the best relation to our spiritual home is to be near enough to love it. But the next best is to be far enough away not to hate it. It is the contention of these pages that while the best judge of Christianity is a Christian, the next best judge would be something more like a Confucian. The worst judge of all is the man now most ready with his judgements; the ill-educated Christian turning gradually into the ill-tempered agnostic, entangled in the end of a feud of which he never understood the beginning, blighted with a sort of hereditary boredom with he knows not what, and already weary of hearing what he has never heard. He does not judge Christianity calmly as a Confucian would; he does not judge it as he would judge Confucianism.

For those in whom a mere reaction has thus become an obsession, I do seriously recommend the imaginative effort of conceiving the Twelve Apostles as Chinamen. In other words, I recommend these critics to try to do as much justice to Christian saints as if they were Pagan sages.


Susan G. Komen, Fundraising Arm of Planned Parenthood

07 Oct

I just came across an article titled “How Planned Parenthood Outwitted Komen for the Cure” and was reminded of the scandal earlier this year. Komen’s leadership faced a fundraising plateau and decided to review some things, finding that their Planned Parenthood funding, the cause of many refusing to fund Komen, was in violation of existing policies. Further, most of the funding was going to Planned Parenthood facilities that only referred women elsewhere, rather than actually providing services.

The article details how Planned Parenthood used their massive stockpile of funding to attack the women behind Komen for the Cure and destroy them, resulting in the CEO and many others resigning and the Planned Parenthood funding being reinstated.

As the Komen fundraising frenzy picks up again this year, remember that Komen has been taken over by those seeking to use it as the fundraising arm of the largest abortion provider in America – the abortion provider that targets poor and minority neighborhoods seeking to fulfill the mission of it’s founder to extinguish brown skinned people from our society by depriving their children of life. Before Planned Parenthood’s takeover of Komen, only 21% of their funds went to breast cancer research, and it’s likely even lower now that it’s funneling more funds to the abortionists.

There are alternative organizations funding breast cancer that don’t fund the death of infants.


So you speak Hot Water?

20 Sep

This is the first time I’ve seen Hot Water as a language.



The Pain of Ministry: Friends Who Fail You “No one stood by me, but all deserted me.”

18 Sep

Ministry is painful, in a number of ways.  John Piper recently preached about one aspect of pain in ministry from the closing words of 2 Timothy: Friends Who Fail you.

Christian ministry is relationally hard… Friends in the ministry can let you down and never care for you again.

“Paul seems to want Timothy to feel that because of how many [examples of friends who have failed or abandoned him] he dumps on him” in the text.

“Every moment of unexpected silence from a friend,

and every verbal blow from an enemy

wounds the spirit of the Christian.

And it happens a lot.”

Have you ever lived what Paul did, when Paul wrote that NO ONE stood by him?

Have you ever been abandoned or even turned against by who you thought were your friends in ministry?

How does one respond?

Piper’s thoughts:

While some friends in the ministry will let you down and never care for you again, others will care for you again. Don’t be simplistic. Don’t be unforgiving. “It is possible to love someone deeply and let them down.”