45 5F E1 04 22 CA 29 C4 93 3F 95 05 2B 79 2A B2

I am organizing a Russian Hill global warming group through some postings on Craigslist. Our first meeting is tonight.

I am sitting in Starbucks trying to do my homework to answer some questions and get some ideas ahead of the meeting. Some questions are:
– What are the man-made causes of global warming?
We know the general list. Cars, trucks, airplanes, most power plants, deforestation. But in order to do something about the problem, we need numbers. We need to know where our efforts will have the most effect. A quick Google search turned up one promising link. Unfortunately it was several years old and the percentages added up to over 100%

– Where does my electricity come from?
This turned up even less results (0) than the first question. I have no idea where my electricty comes from. A Google search implies that very few people in the country will be able to answer this question easily. PG&E does have some information. It says that 58% of their energy comes from non or low-emitting sources. This implies that 42% comes from heavy emitting sources, but it doesn’t say explicitly.
Update: Obviously, I was researching this while I was writing. Thanks to Wikipedia, I have a pretty good breakdown.

– Where does my food come from?
This one will take a bit more research, and I couldn’t expect it to be answered by a simple Google search.

– What can I do to combat global warming?
Most or all websites that you go to talk only of individual action. For real change in habits to take place, we need political action as well.

Hopefully the group can put our minds together and come up with some answers and solutions.

Please, do the right thing and befriend a geek. Then have him or her help you with your computer problems. A beer or some cookies should be all the payment that is required.

Why? Because computer repair shops will rip you off, or at least most of them, anyway.

And in other news, I think they gave me caf instead of decaf at the coffee shop tonight. And hence, I can’t sleep.

Slashdot has an article up about how the MPAA is sending takedown notices to websites that publish a certain number called the HD-DVD Processing Key. This number is used to decrypt (and hence, watch) HD-DVD movies. Certain privileged companies get to use this number so that their players can play these movies. But what if you wanted to watch your HD-DVD movie in Linux, or with some other unsupported method? You’d need this number.

Well the first comment to the Slashdot article had that very number in it. I find this hilarious…a slap in the face to the MPAA. Oh, what is the number, you ask? 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

Hack away.

source: http://rudd-o.com/archives/2007/04/30/spread-this-number/

Update: and…we have 09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63.com. Also, Wired joins the fight.

Update 2: Kevin Rose does the right thing.

Here is my experience at Lombardo’s Barber Shop on Friday November 10:
1508 Union Street (at Van Ness)
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 441-0356

I got in the chair, and here is the conversation that ensued:

Barber: So you live around here?

Me: Yeah, Larkin and Union.

Barber: Where you from originally?

Me: I’m from Maryland. I moved here a little over a year ago.

Barber: So what brought you to the city?

Me: Well, I just decided that I needed to move on. So I checked out a couple of cities and ended up here.

Barber: I just don’t see why anyone would want to live here, what with all the fags and lesbians and the high cost of living.

Me: Well, gay people don’t really bother me. And I work in IT, so I was able to easily find a job, so the high cost of living doesn’t really bother me either.

Barber: Well I’m a native San Franciscan, and I’ve seen this city go downhill with all the fags and lesbians. I don’t agree with live and let live.

Me: OK, I don’t want to listen to this while I am getting a haircut.

Barber: The nice thing about this country is that there’s freedom of speech. I’m just waiting for all the fags and lesbians to be wiped out by a fag disease.

Me: All right, let me out, I’m going to go.

Barber: Well I’m almost done, you might as well stay.

Me: All right, well I sure won’t be coming back here.

I wanted to start cussing the guy out and get in a fight with him. But instead I sat there, trying to get my heart rate back to normal. I knew that a more effective way to combat this would be to let as many people know about this as I could.

In retrospect, however, I should have just left when I said I was going to. But hindsight is always 20/20.

I urge you all to not patronize this barber shop, and if you live in the area, let other people know about this horrible place.

It is worth the (small) premium to get a good ISP:

“We will not allow warrantless wiretapping or access to customer information.”

I have been thinking about setting up an organized system to track my correspondence with businesses and the like. One thing I would like to do is have a detailed record of all emails and phone calls between myself and a business. The basic premise here is that it would make it easier to protect my own consumer rights – “You specifically told me on June 2nd at 10:38am that I would only be billed once!” Stuff like that.

So I figured it might be a good idea to set up a recording system on my home phone to record my conversations. Then hopefully I could save these conversations to digital format and link them to a case number that I would create. But I knew that wiretap laws can be a little tricky, so I googled a bit and found this from Privacy Rights Clearinghouse: “Wiretapping/Eavesdropping on Telephone Conversations: Is There Cause for Concern?” Specifically, this is exactly the information I was looking for:

California law does not allow tape recording of telephone calls unless all parties to the conversation consent (California Penal Code 632), or they are notified of the recording by a distinct “beep tone” warning (CPUC General Order 107-B(II)(A)(5)).

So I think this leaves me with two options:
1) Every time I call up a business or receive a call on my home phone, I ask for the consent of the other end that I record the call.
2) I take detailed written notes of each call as it comes in.

Either way, this isn’t really relevant until I get this system in a workable state. But I thought I would post this information here just as an FYI to my California reader(s).

Many of us have fallen victim to a gym’s predatory contracts. You can’t join unless you join for 1/2/3 years, and you can’t cancel without an exorbitant fee. They do this because they know that most people won’t go to the gym for more than a couple of weeks, but you’ll have to pay anyway.

Well I decided that if I was going to join a gym again, I would not sign such a contract. I already got screwed once, and I won’t get screwed again.

There is a gym near me called “Crunch.” I had tossed around the idea of joining…but there was no way I would walk in there to be hassled by a salesman. God damn, how I hate dealing with sales people.

So I went to the Crunch website, to my location, and requested more information. I asked that they email me a list of their rates, and the services that you get at each rate, and a copy of any document I would have to sign should I join the gym. I received no response.

Moral of the story: Businesses don’t like dealing with smart consumers. Ralph Nader once told a story of a man who went to a car dealership. They gave him the contract that he needed to sign to buy the car, and he made changes to it, and handed it back to them for their approval. They proceeded to call the police on the man.