FEATURED Technology

Usage Based Internet Service Won’t Work

I’ve been exploring options to move my website’s hosting from Bluehost and onto my own, locally hosted server, but aside from needing a static IP address, I wasn’t sure what kind of plan I would need from an Internet Service Provider.  When I was trying to figure this out, I stumbled across Comcast’s page displaying “My Current Data Usage.”

Monthly Data Usage on Comcast

This might seem extraordinarily high to some of you.  Please keep in mind that Krista and I don’t have television (even antenna) in the house and our singular source of entertainment comes from streaming Netflix and free content on Amazon Prime (click here to see my review of Amazon Prime!).

However, before you even realize how much data we’re using; the first thing you should notice is how inconsistent our data usage is!  We used almost three times as much bandwidth in August than we did in September.  What did we do in August that we didn’t do in September?  I have no freaking clue!

One of the biggest variables is that we don’t visit the same websites from month to month.  This gets to the core of the problem with use based internet plans, or plans that are priced on how much data you use.

At the end of the day, you have virtually NO control over the data you request besides deciding not to request it at all.  Most of you have no idea what that means, so allow me to provide an example.

I get the feeling that you have all recently visited KTracy.com; if not, it is a fantastic website managed by this really stellar conservative genius – I really can’t say enough good things about him.  Well, when you go to KTracy.com, you have absolutely no control over what content I put up on the website.

This article is mostly text with a couple of images placed to keep your attention and make this topic look a lot more interesting than it is.  That’s not going to use a lot of data on your end.  However, there is nothing that prevents me from embedding an MP3 audio file that would play automatically as soon as you get to my site… nothing besides awareness of good website design.  That would take up more data.

Bad website design comes in many shapes and sizes.
Bad website design comes in many shapes and sizes.

But if I was enough of a novice to make that kind of design mistake, I would probably be too dumb to convert my WAVE file into an MP3.  So you would instead be streaming an uncompressed audio file; which takes up a LOT more data.

Net-NeutralityFurthermore, there is nothing stopping me from embedding and automatically playing a video on my website.  Or even worse, embedding it in the sidebar so the video streams every time you click on a link to another page on my website.  On a Use Based Internet Service plan, the internet subscribers who surf the net could pay an arm and a leg because of a crappy website designer.

The obvious solution is to eliminate network neutrality; which would require website owners to pay internet service providers for the information that other people download, which is unfair for its own reasons, but in the event of an embedded video, it’s actually YouTube’s data that’s being transmitted, not the data of the website the video is playing on.

The most fair internet model is the monthly model the internet has grown and expanded under for almost 20 years now.  And as the internet becomes an increasingly important part of our lives, everybody fully expects that data usage will continue to increase for individual surfers.  Within 20 years, we’re going to be downloading items to physically create in 3D printers.  We’re going to watching entertainment in new and exciting ways.  20 years ago, there was no such thing as High Definition television.  Now we stream HD content over the internet regularly.  20 years from now, we’ll all have 4K televisions and be downloading and streaming 4K video from the web… assuming video is still the form factor of choice.  We have no idea what the future holds, and neither do Internet Service Providers.  But if you limit how people develop data or how much of it internet users can enjoy, you’re limiting the amazing potential of the internet and the potential of humanity to make amazing scientific and creative leaps.

Ten Commandments Statue Destroyed by Satanist in Oklahoma City

The impact from the vehicle and subsequent fall smashed the 10 Commandments into two tablets.  It's actually kind of ironic because Moses was given two tablets by God and smashed them to pieces.
The impact from the vehicle and subsequent fall smashed the 10 Commandments into two tablets. It’s actually kind of ironic because Moses was given two tablets by God and smashed them to pieces.

This morning, a Satanist crashed his car into a statue of the ten commandments outside the Oklahoma Capitol.  The Satan worshiper then exited his vehicle and urinated on the shattered statue before being arrested by nearby police.  Upon his arrest, he announced that Satan told him to do it.

The Ten Commandments statue has been incredibly controversial and the ACLU was in the process of suing the state of Oklahoma over the apparent religious endorsement, forbidden by the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights.  The state had successfully argued in lower courts that the Ten Commandments are the basis and foundation of much of our legal system.  For what it’s worth, the ACLU announced its outrage at this dangerous act of destructive vandalism.

Thousands of Catholics protested the Black Mass held in September 2014, supported by the prayers of Catholic organizations all over the world.
Thousands of Oklahoma Catholics protested the Black Mass held in September 2014, supported by the prayers of Catholic organizations all over the world.

Already, conservative members of the Oklahoma legislature are raising private money to rebuild the statue; which will undoubtedly be built larger and more sturdy than before.  The destruction of the Ten Commandments statue comes a month after Satanists were allowed to hold a “Black Mass” at a civic center in Oklahoma City.  While only 42 attended the Satanic mockery of the Catholic Mass (which was reportedly sold out), literally thousands of Catholics gathered to pray to and worship God and protest what the Satanists were doing in their community and with their tax dollars.

The destruction of the iconic statue of the Ten Commandments only further illustrates to us the destructive nature of Satan and those who follow a path away from God.  Nothing constructive comes from Satanism; only destruction.  Destruction of monuments.  Destruction of values.  Destruction of families.  Destruction of people.  God has made humanity in His image, and thus it is in our nature to create and construct.  We create new technologies.  We create awe inspiring works of art and music.  We construct enormous sky scrapers.  We create new medical treatments to heal the sick and save the dying.  God, The Creator of All Things, has even blessed us with the gift of creating, bearing, and forming new life.

Today’s events just remind us of this.

FEATURED Catholicism

Pope Saint John Paul the Great’s Feast Day

John Paul IIOn the Catholic Calendar, yesterday was the first annual feast day of Pope Saint John Paul the Great.  Normally, the Church chooses to celebrate the feast day of a saint on the day they leave their mortal remains to be with our Lord in Heaven.  However, because Pope John Paul II died during lent, the Church instead chose the day of Pope John Paul II’s inauguration as Pontiff of the Universal Church.  This places the feast of Pope Saint John Paul the Great about a week before All Soul’s Day and towards the end of regular time as we prepare to enter Advent (beginning November 30th in 2014).

10380907_4660689452462_7632953589947346198_nTo celebrate, Krista and I joined my parents at a Polish restaurant called the Cavalier Inn in Hammond, Indiana.  The place could use some remodeling, but the food was about as authentic as it comes!  We peeked into the kitchen and even found a group of beautiful, young-in-spirit Polish-American women preparing our food.  And in true Polish neighborhood fashion, we took home enough for two more meals.

Unfortunately, the “FDR Club” of Lake County, Indiana chose to have a candidates night meeting at the restaurant on the same day; which means we had to listen to Democrat candidates and unofficial democrats school board candidates give speeches about how great the public school system in Hammond is.  Unfortunately for the students of Hammond’s public schools, the school board candidates were all delusional with no statistics to back up anything they were saying about their accomplishments.

But then again, that’s what Democrats do.  Thankfully, we didn’t let them ruin our petite for pirogi.  Instead, we chose to just make fun of them the entire time we were there.

CzarninaAnyway, I took this opportunity to try czarnina.  Czarnina has been a food of folklore since my childhood.  When my mom or grandma talked about growing up in their Polish neighborhood; they always spoke of my great-grandmother making this absolutely awful soup out of duck blood.  After hearing about it for years, I finally decided that I wanted to try it but, as you might imagine, not a lot of places offer blood soups.  Yesterday, I finally got my chance.

It’s darker than I thought because it’s not just duck blood.  There are also dried prunes, raisins, pears, and apples; which I believe darkens the color.  Noodles are added, too.  And vinegar, which prevents the blood from clotting.

Fantastic.  I absolutely loved it.  Krista on the other hand… well, not so much.  I think there’s something about vinegar, dried prunes, raisins, or duck blood she doesn’t like.  The girl is crazy.

For what it’s worth, Pope Saint John Paul the Great is among the patron saints of the family.  Eating at a Polish restaurant wasn’t really as important as having the meal with family.  I really am blessed to have such an amazing family and I’m thankful I got to spend last night with family.

germany

Islamists Attack Kurds & Yazidis in Coordinated Bloody Street Battles in GERMANY!

Earlier this month, a terribly under-reported but still very significant incident of street violence took place in Hamburg, Germany.  On October 7th, 400 Kurdish-Germans were peacefully protesting the Islamic State near al-Nour Moschee (English: al-Nour Mosque).  After the protests were underway, a group of about 400 supporters of the Islamic State armed with baseball bats, brass knuckles, knives, machetes, and skewers suddenly confronted the protesters and a “ferocious” bloody street fight ensued at about 8pm local time.  Thankfully, the Hamburg police were prepared to respond quickly to the violence and repelled the Islamic State attackers.  However, many of the Kurdish-German protesters had received serious stab and blunt force wounds during the stand-off.

ISIS-in-Germany
A photo of an Islamic State supporter shows they were using skewers used for holding kabab meat at Middle Eastern restaurants.

It’s not surprising that there might be people, particularly confused and angry youth, in Germany who are sympathetic to the Islamic State.  What I think has the German people and government on edge is the fact that they are organized enough to respond to a protest with little notice and radical enough to try and silence it with violence.  I guarantee you that European counterterrorism analysts are devoting a lot of time and resources into figuring out exactly how 400 radical Islamists managed to organize like this.

But that wasn’t all.  The same day, Chechen Islamists who had been allowed to immigrate into Germany were instructed by radical preachers to attack Yazidis living in Germany.  The Yazidis are a non-Arab, non-Muslim minority group who have been targeted by the Islamic State with extreme brutality and prejudice.  The Chechen radicals managed to severely injure 11 before Police could respond.  This attack happened about 50 miles south of Hamburg in the town of Celle.  The photograph below shows police talking to witnesses of the Chechen extremists attacks.  Adding symbolic insult to injury, the attacks were focused on Kirchestrasse (English: Church Street).

The Chechens attacked Yazidis in the area surrounding Kirchestrasse.
The Chechens attacked Yazidis in the area surrounding Kirchestrasse.

The fact that these Islamists were willing to use armed violence against innocent, unarmed protesters has got to be alarming to European analysts.  There’s a very thin line between attacking innocent protesters with knives and attacking innocent civilians with pipe bombs.

Germany is home to about four million Muslims, one million Kurdish-Germans, and about 60,000 Yazidis.  Past estimates predict that there are about 30 Islamist terrorist organizations with some sort of small presence in Germany.  Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood are among the largest, with between two and three thousand associates and sympathizers.   However, Germany (and most of Europe for that matter) have not been eager to break up these groups.  However, their unwillingness to target these terrorist supporters has been in part because they haven’t caused any kind of major violence in Germany since the attack on the Israeli Olympic Team in Munich in 1972 (more than 42 years ago).  This month’s street battles might be a turning point in public opinion on the matter.

The only question will be whether Germany responds now by cracking down or waits until the people elect an anti-immigration, extreme Right-Wing Parliament.  For those who don’t follow international politics, right-wing in Germany is not the same as right-wing in the United States.  Germany’s type of right-wing politicians could possibly destroy the European Union in the process of rooting out terrorist sympathizers and deporting immigrants, a move that would be devastating to the global economy.

Kazakhstan

Krista is 100% Encouraged to Do This

Pause for a moment and admire this young woman's excellent form!   I wouldn't be surprised if she was a trained kickboxer or martial artist.
Pause for a moment and admire this young woman’s excellent form! I wouldn’t be surprised if she was a trained kickboxer or martial artist.

This is in Kazakhstan; which is why you can’t understand what the young woman is saying.  The male (I won’t call him a man) asked the girls how much it would cost to have sex, soliciting them as prostitutes.  Obviously, the girls value their chastity a bit more than money… or even jewels.  I would hope that ANY women in similar situations would do the exact same thing.  Hit, and hit hard.  And if prudent, a kick in the groin is totally appropriate, too.  I guarantee you this male is going to think twice before disrespecting a woman again.

Unfortunately for the young women seen above, the video went viral in Kazakhstan; and Police are now trying to ascertain their identities.  Prostitution is not legal in Kazakhstan, but the country isn’t exactly a leader when it comes to civil and human rights for women.  In fact, things are getting worse for women in Kazakhstan rather than better.

Kazakhstan is a former-Soviet Republic.  When they broke off from the Soviet Union during the collapse of communism in the early 1990s, the they still had the Soviet Union’s basic framework of laws; which were very beneficial to human rights for women and enacted quotas for the number of women needing to be in the Republic’s governmental positions.  Over the last 20 years, Kazakhstan has been slowly repealing these basic protections for women, deregulating them into second class citizens.

While they by no means live under oppressive Sharia law or are oppressed by monsters like ISIS, the women of Kazakhstan still have if incredibly hard compared to women in the United States or western Europe.  There is likely to be little sympathy in Kazakhstan’s legal system for these young women defending themselves from a perverted criminal simply because the pervert was a male.

Women defending themselves?  What is this, America?  They can’t have this in Kazakhstan!!

Hopefully the Kazakh authorities lose interest in these young women and instead focus their efforts on REAL problems in Kazakhstan; like sex slavery, child prostitution, and drug smuggling.

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