Monday, January 28, 2008

More RFID Security News

Security Advocates Fight Passport RFID Proposal

The State Department issued a mandate requiring all US passports to be equipped with RFID chips in them. This is a bad thing, not only for reasons I've pointed out in earlier posts (here, here, here and here); but, also because the type of RFID chip they require will be one which can be "vicinity read" rather than the "proximity read." In other words, they want a chip which can be read from a further distance away.

The fact that the State Department will required whoever gets the contract to provide these chips will be required to supply a "protective sleeve." Although not spelled out in the article, I assume this sleeve is meant to protect the passport holder from having his or her information read off the chip.

This is another example of the government wanting to take advantage of a technology without fully thinking through the implications. Yes, I imagine having RFID passports which can be read from some distance away can be a great tool to ease traffic at customs stations and immigration checkpoints. But, the inherent lack of security in this type of scheme screams for it to not be used.

I mentioned in one of my previous posts on RFID that if this technology were mandated I'd wrap my wallet in aluminum foil. I'm not the only one with this idea. While on a recent trip, I spotted an RFID Blocking Passport Wallet in the "Sky Mall" catalog which is made to prevent "sniffing" information off one's RFID-equipped cards and identification. In addition to the one I noticed in the print catalog, the Sky Mall web site offers three other types of ID holders which are made to block RFID readers from getting the information off the chip.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

God Does Not Hate You, Either.

Nor anyone else for that matter.

Very often, those of us who are church-going people look down our noses at those whom we consider "sinners." There are two reasons, out of a list of many, why we should not do this:
  1. We are sinners, too. Though we might be "saved," we are still sinners and are in need of God's grace every day.
    (Romans 3:8-20)
  2. Jesus told us not to judge others. That's his job, not ours.
    (Matthew 7)
I often hear those whom I know as godly people, go off on a rant against their "pet" sin. Sometimes it's promiscuity, sometimes homosexuality, sometimes substance abuse, etc. It's very sad to hear these otherwise fine and loving people declare that this group or that group is beyond help and God's love and are destined for Hell.

Nothing, though, could be further from the truth. There are people we can read about in the Bible who were "sinners" and did some rather evil things, yet God loved them. First in my mind is David. Among his many "sins," this man had an affair with a woman he was not married to, she being married to someone else. The lady became pregnant from this affair, so David tries to cover the whole thing up by getting her soldier-husband home to sleep with her. When he doesn't, David has him killed and then marries the lady himself. (2 Samuel:11) And yet, this is a man described by God as "a man after my own heart" (1 Samuel 13:14).

The reason why God said that about David was because David, when confronted with his sin, immediately went to God in repentance and God forgave him. That doesn't mean David didn't have to pay for his sins - he often did. But, he was certainly a lot better off than if he hadn't repented.

So, where does that leave us? We need to always remember God loves everyone, irregardless of what they have done or failed to do. Everyone is in the same boat when it comes to needing the forgiveness - that includes the worst sinner on the Earth as well as the most "holy." When we start judging others on our scale, we become like the religious leader in Jesus' story who stood at the front of the temple and pronounced himself "better" than someone else in the room (Luke 18:9-14). We get ourselves into trouble when we consider ourselves "holier than thou."

What got me going on this rant is that church group from Kansas whose members have made themselves prophets by pronouncing that our country is at war and its military members are being killed because we, as a nation, don't condemn homosexuality. This is the group who protests at military funerals holding signs reading "God Hates Fags" and other equally ugly things. These were the same folks who were protesting outside the courthouse when the murderers of Matthew Shepard were on trial, seemingly protesting in favor of the killers because Shepard was gay. Even though that happened almost 10 years ago, I can still clearly see the image of those signs in my mind and it pains me each time I see them.

If you call yourself a Christian and profess to be a follower of Jesus, then you cannot and must not judge others. While he was here, Jesus show himself to be the epitome of love and grace. He didn't hang around with the religious leaders of the day. No, he hung around with "tax collectors" and "sinners." He demonstrated compassion and forgiveness to all who needed it. He did not condemn those people, and he saved his sharpest rebukes for those who thought themselves better than others. Because of their arrogance, they kept regular people away from God by making them feel they were unworthy of his love and forgiveness. We Christians need to follow Jesus' example and demonstrate love and forgiveness to those who need it most. That would be the "unlovable," the "dirty," the "heathens," the "shameful" among us.

The list I posted earlier was meant as a stark reminder of who's boss and who makes the decisions about whether one is "worthy" or not. It's not us, it's God. He's the one who loves everyone and demands we do the same.

We can get into a huge debate about whether homosexuality (or whatever your "pet" sin) is wrong or against the Word of God. The bottom line is: it doesn't matter. It is not up to us to judge those we come in contact with. It's up to us to show love and grace to everyone and to demonstrate God's love in practical ways. Once folks get to know him, they and God can work out their differences without our interference. Believe me, they and you will be a lot better off in God's hands than in yours.

Friday, January 11, 2008

God Does Not Hate Fags

I say again: God does not hate fags.

He also does not hate:

  • Abusers (spouse, child, elderly or animal)
  • Adulterers
  • Artists (all mediums and styles)
  • Authors
  • AIDS patients
  • Agnostics
  • Atheists
  • Bad Drivers
  • Barkeepers
  • Bigots
  • Bisexuals
  • Blasphemers
  • Brewery workers
  • Boys
  • Celebrities
  • Corrupt government officials
  • Dancers (Exotic, erotic or folks who like to dance)
  • Deviants
  • Drug and/or alcohol abusers
  • Drug dealers
  • Drunk drivers
  • Distillery workers
  • Embezzlers
  • Gamblers
  • Gang members
  • Geeks
  • Girls
  • Groupies
  • Handicapped people
  • Hippies
  • Homeless people
  • Homophobes
  • Hypocrites
  • Immigrants (legal or otherwise)
  • Lesbians
  • Men
  • Muggers
  • Murderers
  • Musicians (of any type or style)
  • Pedophiles
  • People of color (any, and also those considered not “of color”)
  • Perverts
  • Pickpockets
  • Polytheists
  • Pirates (on sea or those dealing in music, movies or software)
  • Prisoners
  • Promiscuous people
  • Prostitutes
  • Racists
  • Rapists
  • Refugees
  • Sinners
  • Slanderers
  • Spammers
  • Terrorists
  • Thieves
  • Transsexuals
  • Transvestites
  • Womanizers
  • Women

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Vibration Test

Yesterday, as I was riding home from a PGR ride, I was stopped at a light next to what I refer to as a "stereo car." This is a car which almost drives itself under the power of the bass in the music. This is a car which you don't so much hear the bass as feel it. Where you hear the bass is in the rattling of the various parts of the car.

I'm not a killjoy when it comes to loud music. I like to listen to my tunes loud, too.

But, I have to wonder if anyone has done a study to see how that extreme vibration affects the structure of the average car. I don't expect the frame or the drive train to be affected too much, but the body pieces seem to take a real beating. I wonder if any fasteners come loose after a time of being exposed to so much vibration.

I'm sure the auto manufacturers design around a certain amount of vibration, but that is from the road and the drive train pieces. The vibration of the bass is completely different.

I'm just curious.