Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Carnival of Homeschooling - The Wisdom Edition

Welcome to the Carnival of Homeschooling - The Wisdom Edition!

We've got some really interesting entries this week with some very helpful words and advice regarding life and homeschooling - plus a touch of humor ...

Andrea Davis shares with us this post: In for the Homeschool Haul: Character Training posted at Pious Homemaking.

The article Summer Structure explains that some kids thrive on structure, even in the summer months, and here you will discover how one family deals with time off from school.
It can be read with other great posts at Eclectic Momma

Shivam Gandhi shares a post regarding an effort of trying to increase your intelligence by yourself. It could apply to homeschooled children and is entitled Project IQ, Starting today! posted over at The blog of Shivam J Gandhi, a "random teenager" interested in self-improvement.

The words "I love you" have great significance in our lives and in some cultures. Valentine's Day is a day devoted to this and many other of expressions of love. It is a beautiful tradition with one significant drawback - Valentine's Day is focused entirely on our love for others. Sharon Agostino presents My Valentine, Self love, Inner Voice, Taking care of yourself  posted at awakeningyourtrueself.com.

Janine writes about how their homeschooling style has changed over time in this blogpost entitled Our Homeschooling style over time which can be found with other wonderful articles over at Why Homeschool

Annie Kate, from Tea Time with Annie Kate, says, "One thing I heard over and over at our conference was the importance of relaxing about schoolwork...and I've been hearing this for years. It is difficult for me, though"... and she shares with us these words in her piece: Conference Lessons: Relax about Schoolwork

Since this is graduation season - Judy shares this article she wrote many years ago on this blog (Consent of the Governed) regarding the topic of Diplomas and Credentials -  "Homeschoolers - Things you should know about Diplomas".

The Thinking Mother Blog presents the post - School vs. Homeschool Stereotypes Comedy Sketch by Homeschooled Teen - thanks to Christine who shares this video of a homeschool teen she knows performing a comedy sketch that he wrote about school versus homeschool student stereotypes, at the Gotham Comedy Club in New York City. (language alert)

Finally - an update on my own 3 homeschooled kids - because you need to know that homeschooling WORKS and that your kids WILL succeed!

D----, our oldest, is a Transportation Analyst with CDM Smith - and he graduated from Boston University with a degree in Political Science and Urban Planning.
J---, our next oldest, is a Computer Security Officer with MIT Lincoln Labs - and he graduated from Wentworth Institute of Technology with a degree in Computer Networks.  He recently married too!
R-----, our youngest, works for the Grammy Foundation - and she graduated from the University of New Haven with a degree in Music Industry. 

They all love what they do and were allowed to follow their passions and interests... we cannot be more proud of their achievements and we are so happy and thankful that we followed the path of homeschooling!


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy 2014!

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man. ~ Benjamin Franklin

COTG wishes you all the best for 2014!
To you and your loved ones we wish you the best of health, happiness, prosperity and peace.

"Auld Lang Syne" is a song by Robert Burns (1759--1796). It is one of the better-known songs in English-speaking countries, and it is often sung at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Day.

Burns' Original Scots verse:

  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from New Hampshire!

May this Christmas bring you and your family
the love and warmth of the season.

Peace to you, one and all!!

"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." ~ Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)

Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts. ~ Janice Maeditere

What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace. ~ Agnes M. Pharo

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Carnival Of Homeschooling - Creative Learning Edition

Welcome once again to the Carnival of Homeschooling!
We have lots of interesting posts to share with you this week!
I thought the theme this week should be all about building creative curricula.

Whether you have little ones or big kids to teach at home - there's always something different and wonderful to do as homeschoolers... so step right up to each carnival booth and enjoy!

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Jennifer Silcott shows us some homeschool unit study creativity with Native American Unit - Day 1 presented on her Home Grown Hearts Academy Homeschool Blog.

Kelli Miller shares with us this pre-school educational activity:  3 Little Pigs {Story Sequence} posted at 3 Boys and a Dog

If you are looking for a good deal on audio books for your homeschooling curriculum -  Simply Convivial shares with us her tips on the subject with How To Get Up To 15 Audible Audiobooks for $4 or less

Eclectic Momma associates cemeteries with stories and heritage. She doesn't live near her family graves anymore, but cemeteries still capture her attention with unknown stories displayed between the dates on a stone. She wanted her children to have reverence for these places and to see the connections to their community that can be found in this quiet and serene place. Not a place of fear...Please read her wonderful use of history as curriculum with her blogpost: Bizarre and Unusual Field Trips: Cemetery

From Tea Time with Annie Kate - We were so blessed to be able to meet some of the heroes of the past. Not only could we personally thank them, but they taught us more than we could ever learn from text books. Here's another great curriculum building idea: Appreciating our Veterans

Homeschoolvs publicschool examines the Bill of Rights Amendments #5 and 6 and shows us what the 5th and 6th amendments to the Constitution actually state and how they protect us.  Information definitely worth knowing.

A double-header! Katie presents some help with curriculum planning with these two posts: Starting your homeschoolers on a foreign language and 5 easy ways to add music to your homeschool --even if you are not musical posted over at My Sweet Homeschool.

And the beauty of homeschooling is that it offers so much flexibility between family and studies and outside interests... so as life gets more relaxed, Henry shares how and why is glad that homeschooling allows them to be flexible... read more at The crazy months are over at Why Homeschool

So even if you have the best designed curriculum - you may have issues with motivation... 
The blogger at Reading-Writing-Learning recently needed to write some information for a family struggling with their inattentive child and decided to turn it into a blog post for others to share. These tips really are relevant to anyone, with any child because they’re about positive communication, shaping behaviour the easy, effective way and getting your child to comply with house rules. Hope many of you find it useful - please read Managing your Inattentive Child at Home

Then of course - once you have worked through a high school curriculum and it's time to head off to college, preparing a High School Transcript can be a bit unnerving ... are Carnegie Units getting you a bit crazy???  MomSCHOOL shares with us Homeschool High School Credits and she discusses how navigating homeschool high school credits can be a difficult endeavor, but totally do-able.

and finally - life is more than just curriculum - Barbara Frank Online shares some good news with us - all about how a homeschooled couple found one another - read all about it at the blogpost: Newsflash! Homeschooled Couple Finds Each Other W/O Courtship (Gasp!)

I hope you've enjoyed this edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling.
I hope you've picked up some good ideas along the way and I hope that you will all continue to be imaginative, resourceful and fun loving homeschoolers!

Just remember this:
"What you teach your children, you also teach your grandchildren"

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Obama Gets The Lead Out

What a tragedy.
As of December, our country will no longer possess the capability to produce lead.
We will instead, be at the mercy of countries like Communist China for the lead we need to make batteries, ammunition, shielding and scores of other products.
This is disgraceful for our nation, and being done under the auspices of environmentalism via the Environmental Protection Agency.
Not only will this cost Americans more jobs, it will be a devastating loss for the independent production of goods and resources that we, as a country, use and export.
This is truly a page out of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.
Government regulations are continually killing more and more business, driving people out of work and making them dependent on government .
Government regulations are driving production out of our country and sending more jobs and businesses overseas.
These same government regulations which purport to "make us cleaner and safer" - do neither.
And if something is not done to end this madness, we will see coal production and other mining and drilling operations gone as well, in the coming years.
Additionally, with the closure of this lead smelting facility, there will certainly be an increase in the cost to consumers, for the items which require the use of lead.
We will see ammo shortages, which is most likely another desired outcome coming from the Obama administration's promotion of such ridiculous regulation leading to the end of lead production in this country. I am certain there will be people hoarding lead and smelting it themselves... until the government finds a way to halt that as well.

One commenter to the article below wisely observed:
"As it stands now, there are nearly no manufacturers of major items in the U.S. Most are made in communist nations. For instance: mechanic tools, power transformers (provide electrical power), farm and other tractors, steel, shoes (2), a/c compressors and exchangers, auto tires, and now, lead contained products. Our nation is very close to be completely dependent on foreign countries (as most other third world countries are)."

Please read the text of this article:    
The last standing primary lead smelter (shown) in the United States will be closing in December — thanks to the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s continuing war on American industry. While environmental militants may cheer the demise of the Doe Run Company smelter in Herculaneum, Missouri, as an ecological “victory,” the plant’s closure will have little-to-no positive environmental impact, while causing significant economic harm. The potential implications for individual liberty and national security could prove to be even more significant. Meanwhile, Congress continues to permit the EPA to wreak havoc on the American economy, with draconian regulations that have no basis in science and are causing incalculable harm. EPA regulations, for example, are closing hundreds of coal-fired electrical plants and are now targeting natural gas, which has been one of the few bright spots in our national economy, producing (together with unconventional oil production) 1.7 million jobs.

Once Doe Run’s Herculaneum smelter closes there will be no facility left in the United States to process lead ore. A dozen or so secondary smelters will remain to process recycled batteries and other products containing lead, but there is no reason to believe that the EPA’s ever-tightening noose will not eventually order them closed as well. The Herculaneum smelter, which has operated in the same location since 1892, began its shutdown in 2010, after the company concluded an agreement with the EPA.

Tammy Stankey, a public affairs spokesperson at the Doe Run Company, told The New American that the Herculanaum smelter, which once employed over 300, will continue to employ around 75 workers for some time in non-lead-smelting jobs.

While the EPA is closing the last U.S. lead smelting plant, the International Lead Association (ILA), reported in London on October 22 that the global demand for the base metal is expected to continue rising. The ILA reported:

According to the International Lead Zinc Study Group (ILZSG), global demand for lead is expected to increase 5 percent in 2013 and an additional 4.6 percent in 2014. Demand for lead in the U.S. is expected to increase by 7.6 percent in 2013, bolstered by both original equipment purchases of new vehicles and replacement purchases of lead-acid batteries.

Almost 90 percent of lead production in the United States is consumed in making storage batteries. The vast majority of those batteries are for automobiles, trucks, and other motor vehicles. However, many commercial and governmental institutions use large storage batteries for electrical generating facilities, computer centers, telecommunications, medical equipment, air traffic control towers, and more.

"Recent lead-acid battery optimism is reinforced," says the ILA, "by the fact that other battery technologies have yet to reach the high recycling rate of lead-acid options. In the U.S., 98 percent of spent lead-acid batteries are collected and returned to permitted recyclers, which recycle both lead and plastic, keeping 2.4 million tons of batteries out of landfills."

Lithium-ion batteries and nickel-metal hydride batteries have not lived up to their early hype and there is no viable replacement on the near horizon for the lead-acid batteries that are essential for the millions of cars now on the road and the millions more that will be rolling off production lines in coming years.

The second largest use of lead in the U.S., after storage batteries, is for ammunition. With ammunition already difficult to obtain and prices of ammo already skyrocketing, the Doe Run closure can only make matters worse.

Competing with automobiles and ammunition for a dwindling supply of available domestic lead are: ceramic glazes, shielding for X-rays and other radiation, concrete, electronics, glass lenses, paints and coating, paper, silverware and tableware, wire and cable insulation.

As might be expected, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show saw concerns about the closure as an opportunity to ridicule “wacky uncle conspiracy theorists” who, according to MSNBC, see a gun-grab plot behind every federal action. However, as our many reports on the Obama administration’s actions in the Fast and Furious scandal involving gun-running by U.S. federal agencies to Mexico’s deadly drug cartels show (see here and here), the “conspiracy theorists” may not be so whacky after all.

It is likely, though, that the EPA’s environmental extremists view the hit to ammunition costs and availability imposed by the Doe Run closure as simply a serendipitous twofer, an incidental bonus they get for free, in addition to further hamstringing the manufacturing and natural resources industries of what remains of the private productive sector of America’s economy.

As usual, one of the main beneficiaries of this action will be the People’s Republic of China, which is the world’s largest producer of lead. If Congress allows the EPA’s lead standards to rule, the United States will become increasingly hostage to China for lead, as we have already become for rare earth elements.

From a purely environmental standpoint, this new global lead hegemony by the Beijing regime should be of major concern to the green activists who live by the mantra, “Think globally, act locally.” China, which may be the world’s worst environmental offender, can hardly be expected to do a better job than Doe Run in dealing with lead residues and contaminants in an ecologically responsible manner.

I am so very sad to see the continual dismantling of industry and manufacturing in this country... especially due to absurd government restrictions and regulations.

"Government 'help' to business is just as disastrous as government persecution... the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off."    - Ayn Rand

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

New Designs For State Flags

As if we haven't had enough lunacy in our United States of America... Ed Mitchell now wants all of the States in the country to change their flags to promote "unity".

Personally, I think someone has too much time on his hands.
"Industrial designer Ed Mitchell has redesigned each of the flags of the states in the union to make them each carry a unified design across all 50 states.

Why? They didn’t look like they belonged together.

“When you look at them all together, there’s no indication they come from the same nation,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell, who works for product design firm Bresslergroup in Philadelphia, took a look at the flags of all 50 states and was bothered by the lack of a blanket design scheme. “Discordant” was how he described them as a group on the project’s website. They also broke every rule of flag design. Yes, there are rules to flag design.

Those rules include simplicity (meaning a child could draw it from memory), relevant symbolism, no more than three basic colors, no text or seals, and a distinctive look that doesn’t ape other flags.

Mitchell set about unifying color and proportion across all fifty flags, using a vibrant red, white, and blue for each, while retaining some sense of symbolism for each. Mitchell only wanted to use the colors in the American flag. He says that what he ended up with represents a more united America.

As they stand now, our state flags have no unity, Mitchell says."
An article in Wired states:
"Mitchell’s first move was to strip away “everything that reminded me of a divided nation,” he writes. All the Confederate-related stars and bars had to go. He took up some new symbols: the star and the stripe, for obvious reasons, along with the eagle, the olive branch, the shield, and Lady Liberty. He focused on geography as a key to a state’s visual identity, using blue to represent water, and triangles to represent hills, valleys and mountains. He also shrunk down the proportion of the flag, making it 1 by 1.5–a slightly boxier version than the longer 1 by 1.9 American flag, and a shape that looks appropriately subordinate flying under the Stars and Stripes on a flagpole."

So this guy thinks that the only colors that should be used in state flags are red white and blue and that the flags should be very simplistic. He wants to ditch any hint of history, symbolism and state seals and change the sizes of the flags as well.

The thing is this... every state in the union is not a clone of the federal government. They do not exist for the federal government.  The fact is that each state in our union SHOULD be different and unique. Every state was meant to be a laboratory that tries out different ways of governing and different ways of solving problems that face their citizens. Our union is merely a collection of individual self governing states. So it's our diversity which makes us successful. State flags represent their uniqueness and defines them, be it through their state seal, or some other icon. There's no need to have them look alike or cede their identity to a "higher governing power".

This whole notion of state flags promoting "unity" under the red, white and blue is a bunch of hogwash meant to dilute the importance of state sovereignty and individuality and obliterate an element of a state's identity.

We might as well think of this as the dumbing down of American flag design.

I hope you take a moment to look at the flag designs Mitchell proposes.
They are childish, meaningless, cold, simplistic and unnecessary; certainly not as colorful, or interesting as our current collection of state flags.

I sure hope Mitchell's idea goes nowhere.

These are state flags to fly and be proud of.
They represent the diverse fabric and history of this country.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Navy Seals Ordered To Remove Navy Jack from Their Uniforms

Top brass under King Obama has made another edict to our troops...

This from the article by Carl Higbie at the Daily Caller.
The Navy Jack is the ‘don’t tread on me’ flag, one that has earned a revered place in America’s naval history and a beloved place in sailor’s hearts, through its use for over two centuries. This symbol of America’s naval ferocity has spanned our country’s entire existence, flying from the masts of the Continental Navy during the war of independence, to today’s War on Terror. In fact, an amendment to the Navy code called SECNAV Instruction 10520.6 clearly states that as of 31 May 2002 all ships are to fly the flag throughout the duration of the War on Terror.

So why would ranking SEAL commanders ban the historical symbol? Is the proverbial top bass banning the flag? Is President Obama?

Clearly the administration and sycophant “top brass” officers have degraded America’s military prestige; from hand-tying rules of engagement, to uniform regulations that make our military allegedly more compatible with foreign forces, to the banning of an awe-inspiring flag that traces its roots to the first U.S. Navy. We have a civilian-led military, but why should our ranking commanders be complicit in the administration’s war on it? Why don’t they stand up to Obama and his leftist cronies?  ...
After reading the email, I first wondered, ‘why?’ (Actually, first I headed to the gym to take out my frustration and anger on some unsuspecting weights with the fury and intensity only a former Navy SEAL can exert.) Why would our leaders sell out our heritage? Why would they rob present and future sailors of our battle cry?
When a friend of mine asked his leadership the same question, he was told, “The Jack is too closely associated with radical groups.” We must assume that this thought policeman embedded in the SEAL community is speaking of the Tea Party, whose flag (which also dates from the American Revolution) depicts a snake with the same defiant slogan as The Navy Jack.
This begs yet another question: Who defines “radical group”? The last time I checked, all military personnel are under oath to “support and defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” The Tea Party stands for constitutional rights and founding principles of civil liberties and limited government. Radical? Not unless you’re a leftist hell-bent on destroying the foundations of our country. Or as the President has stated as the objective of his presidency, “to fundamentally transform” America.
My friends asked me what they should do about this order. I answer them by saying, “You took an oath to defend this country from enemies foreign and domestic. Will you put your career before country? Will you put your career before your sacred oath?” I cannot tell anyone how to respond. I can tell you though that an enemy — foreign or domestic — that tries to take the Navy Jack from my uniform could only do so by ripping the patriotic patch from the uniform of my cold, dead body.
We all have choices to make. The Obama administration and the yes-men top brass have decided to wage war on our Navy’s heritage. Will the SEALs choose to defend that heritage and defy them, with all the impertinence the flag’s slogan implies? Or will they be tread upon?
Additionally, Chris Hagerman writes
The “Don’t Tread On Me” flag or First Navy Jack has flown on naval ships throughout our history including during the American Revolutionary War.  The rattlesnake is especially significant and symbolic.  The rattle has thirteen layers, signifying the original Thirteen Colonies.
Official Navy instruction has authorized all naval ships to fly the flag throughout the duration of the War On Terror.
Why is it then that senior personnel from within WARCOM and Naval Special Warfare are putting out instructions and memos stating that Navy SEALs are no longer authorized to wear the “Don’t Tread on Me” patch on their combat uniforms along with other custom patches?
I have heard some defend this action stating that it is due to trying to maintain uniformity between the operators.  We all know that is complete garbage.  As members of special operations, we have had the ability to wear custom uniforms that often did not always match our teammates.  We also could wear our own custom patches.  These include state flag patches, unit or platoon patches, or just plain motivational patches.  From wearing blue jeans in Vietnam and non-military hunting camouflage patterns currently, to wearing the Punisher, Crusader, or Navy Jack on our uniforms or body armor, special operations personnel bring the fight to the enemy using battle symbols we feel strongly about.
Whether it be a symbol of our heritage or a sign to strike fear into our enemies, it is clear to me that someone sitting behind a desk needs to keep their politics or weaknesses away from the Teams and all other special operations personnel.
WARCOM and GROUP TWO/ONE have pushed out the uniform policy for NWU III and any patches worn on the sleeve.
All personnel are only authorized to wear the matching “AOR” American Flag patch on the right shoulder.  You are no longer authorized to wear the “Don’t Tread On Me” patch.
Again the only patch authorized for wear is the American flag on the right shoulder. Please pass the word to all.
Senior Enlisted Advisor
[Name Redacted]
Also there's a good article by Tim Brown at Freedom Outpost - he says:
This begs the question of who is defining "radical groups." I can tell you that Mohamed Elibiary is one that advises the Department of Homeland Security on terrorism and we know that efforts have been made in that department, as well as other agencies in the federal government to purge Islam from the roster of radical groups and terrorism. They have even sought to give preferential treatment to Islamic supremacists. However, we've also noticed an alarming mention of Christians, Tea Party advocates, Constitutionalists, liberty minded people and conservatives being listed as radicals. Noticably missing are liberals, socialists, communists, Marxists and the like.
and I had to also share this last thought with you from Joshua Flashman:
"The SEALs are allowed to go into combat wearing just about anything they want. Our best gunfighters currently serve all over the world wear things on their clothes as unique and individualized as special platoon patches, their home state's flag, cargo shorts, ball caps, non-military hunting camouflage (mossy oak, etc.), jeans, other service branch/foreign nation cammo patterns, and even just regular civilian clothes.

Now all of the sudden, these men who's gunslinging skills are so high that they're given ridiculous latitude in what they can wear into combat suddenly can't wear the Navy Jack (which is currently flying from EVERY U.S. Navy ship) because it too closely resembles the famous, Revolutionary War-era Gadsden Flag that the Tea Party uses as a symbol? So Navy brass has identified the Tea Party as a "radical group," and because of that, the Virginia state flag is no longer authorized, because we wouldn't want the SEALs to be associated with a group that supports the "extremist" political position of following the Constitution and limited government."

Make no mistake - there is a purge going on in our military... and anyone who will question the White House, or speak out against absurd policies will be dealt with... and apparently anyone who dares show any inkling of support for those who dare speak or express "Don't Tread On Me" will be dealt with as well.  We need Oathkeepers now more than ever!

Our military is being dismantled, discouraged, demoralized and weakened... and orders are now concerned with political correctness, absurd protocols and tests of where an enlisted person's loyalties lay... will he or she fire on other Americans? will he or she speak out against unconstitutional orders??  will he or she follow unconstitutional orders??  ... and in the meantime this country has seen the militarization of peace officers, the abandoning of posse comitatus, and now there are calls for the TSA, (hired/selected, paid employees of the government) to be armed at Homeland Security checkpoints.

Are you getting the picture yet??    
Are. you. getting. the. picture. yet??

“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?... The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If...if...We didn't love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”-- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

SECNAV Instruction 10520.6
31 May 2002

From: Secretary of the Navy
To: All Ships and Stations (less Marine Corps field addressees not having Navy personnel attached)


Ref: (a) U.S. Navy Regulations, 1990

1. Purpose. To provide for the display of the first navy Jack on board all U.S. Navy ships during the Global War on Terrorism.

2. Discussion. As the first ships of the Continental Navy readied in the Delaware River during the fall of 1775, Commodore Esek Hopkins issued a set of fleet signals. His signal for the “whole Fleet to Engage” the enemy provided for the “strip’d Jack and Ensign at their proper places.” Thus, from the very beginning of our Navy, the Jack has been used on board American warships. The first navy Jack was a flag consisting of 13 horizontal alternating red and white stripes bearing diagonally across them a rattlesnake in a moving position with the motto “Don’t Tread On Me.” The temporary substitution of this Jack represents an historic reminder of the nation’s and Navy’s origin and will to persevere and triumph.

2. Action. The first navy jack will be displayed on board all U.S. Navy ships in lieu of the Union Jack, in accordance with sections 1259 and 1264 of reference (a) . The display of the first Navy Jack is an authorized exception to section 1259 of reference (a). Ships and craft of the Navy authorized to fly the first Navy Jack will receive an issue of four flags per ship through a special distribution.

Gordon H. England
 For more about the history of the Navy Jack - please read this.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Mouse Goes RFID

I just got back from a short visit to Walt Disney World Resorts. Specifically I stayed at the Disney Yacht Club. Upon check-in I was given this lovely bracelet which contains an RFID chip, although I could have refused it and just gotten a plain old card (like a credit card) with the chip embed in it... but I figured, what the heck... let's give this a whirl. Had I known about this beforehand, I could have even pre-ordered one in a color of my choice!

In any case, the bracelet has information on it which links to your Disney "account".  It combines your room access, park passes, credit card (for purchases) and other aspects of your reservation.

Upon check-in you are presented with a rather large box.. which contains your bracelet, with your name printed inside the box and on the bracelet itself.  Some families get multiple bracelets in one box... here is what it all looks like:  (click on the photo for a closer look)

What an incredible waste of resources ... thousands of boxes printed and then thrown away.
But what is really creepy is the personalization both on the box and on the back of the bracelet itself.

The bracelet is then placed on a scanner where the registration people transfer/sync-up all of your information.  You then get to select a PIN number so that if someone happens to find a lost bracelet they cannot use it without the PIN number.

and here is what the readers look like... you match up the Mouse on your bracelet to the reader and type in your PIN for transactions:

and the one on your room door for access:

It's that easy!

Ok so everyone is so excited to have these bracelets - it makes it so easy to get around and spend money and do stuff.. and so many people were wearing them! It's like being part of a special "club"...
and I was told how you had to have actual "contact" with readers and that no long range reader can read these RFID bracelets so they are "identity safe"... but they also admit in their privacy policy that there are long range readers that can read the bracelets - and it records your "experiences" and Disney may use that information for future targeted marketing.. plus
"The security, integrity and confidentiality of your information are extremely important to us. We have implemented technical, administrative and physical security measures that are designed to protect guest information from unauthorized access, disclosure, use and modification. From time to time, we review our security procedures to consider appropriate new technology and methods. Please be aware that, despite our best efforts, no security measures are perfect or impenetrable." 
How nice.

The bracelets themselves are kind of big and clunky.... oh, and if you have a pacemaker or some other kinds of implants, you should check with your doctor to verify that it is safe to wear.

It is apparent that Disney is very heavily invested in this technology .. there are readers everywhere and every person checking in gets one.. especially the kiddos.  In fact, this technology probably saves Disney lots of money in resources when it comes to lost children.. just scan the kid and Bingo! they can be re-united with mummy and daddums in no time flat.

So if you don't mind being tagged like a barnyard animal or sporting a modern high-tech version of the Nazi Concentration Camp tattoos.. then it's cool!

Oh, and one other item I should mention... anytime you enter a Disney Park your bags are searched ... and when you scan your bracelet (or present your RFID chipped card) they also take a scan of your pointer finger!

Unless of course, you are me and refuse to have a fingerprint scan done!
I told the attendant that I did not want to scan my fingerprint and he had me step aside and present a photo ID to another attendant... that was all.  He looked at my driver's license and then at me and gave me the "okey-dokey" to proceed into the park.

So Disney, a private corporation, is collecting thousands of fingerprint scans of people from all over the world, everyday ... and people willingly and blindly give up this personal biometric without question or hesitation when entering the parks!! How compliant and passive people are with these sorts of things.. it's really quite frightening.  I am certain they do not know or care to know why it's being done or what is done with their bio-metric.

The attendant told me that they use this procedure for "identification". Of course they must attach the finger scan to your "account record" after scanning your bracelet (or RFID card).   Although they say in their privacy policy that the fingerscan (Ticket Tag) is converted to a code and the actual fingerprint discarded, one can only wonder how true that is.

In any case, I had the bracelet but never used it to charge anything - and only used it to get into my hotel room and most of the time had it in my handbag.  I didn't much appreciate the thought of being tagged, but just about everyone else thought it was a wonderful addition making their stay truly "Magical".

As for me.. I wasn't impressed with their "technology ... I was somewhat annoyed with it ... and it didn't do anything to "enhance my visit".  If you ask me, all of this RFID stuff is too Minority Report-esque for my liking.

I understand that there is technology being developed that when it is determined who you are (via biometrics or any other collected information), your friends faces on Facebook (and other Social Media)  will be collected and morphed together so that advertising can be tailored to you... in other words, that person in the ad selling Coca-Cola to you will look vaguely familiar, friendly and trustful to you.... need I say more?

Have a Magical Day!



Friday, October 25, 2013

Obama's Stalinesque Purge of The Military

 197 officers have been relieved of duty since 2009 - Yes, 197... and that's a partial list.
(another article is here)

With reasons ranging from “leaving blast doors on nukes open” to “loss of confidence in command ability” to “mishandling of funds” to “inappropriate relationships” to “gambling with counterfeit chips” to “inappropriate behavior” to “low morale in troops commanded” to "budget cuts"...

It seems though more likely that these are the commanders who probably would not blindly follow orders to shoot American citizens or confiscate weapons from legal gun owners... and it is being said that this has become a new "litmus test" for command...

One commenter on this article stated, "This all part of the disarming of America and the systematic weakening of our military, this exactly what socialist govt's have done and are still doing today, example..Venezuela, Bolivia are just two that come to mind..not to mention attacks on the press...freedom of expression......anyone or anything that does not agree with the regimes way of thinking is the enemy."

When Obama says words like "My Military" - what does that really mean?
I think we might be getting a clue.

This is not good at all... not at all good.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Entitlement Addiction Withdrawal May Be On The Horizon

Cavuto Speaks of Nov. 1st Riots
Interesting discussion about the upcoming decrease in foodstamp allocation.

Might be a good idea to stay away from any cities on November 1.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Good Things

I am sure you have a list of good things too.
It's important that we figure out what is good in our lives since so much out of our control is not so good these days.
We have a mess in Washington DC - along with uncertainties in the rest of the world.

It might be time for each of us to reflect what is good and worth preserving in our own little corner of the world.

Our family has settled into a lovely new place, and we have begun some planning for ourselves.
We see an urgency to take care of ourselves (healthwise and household-wise) and to become part of a local community.

Self-sufficiency has become a theme of sorts.
So there is another list we've made - the things we need to do to be more self-sufficient.
Currently that list is being worked on... and we'll keep you posted :)

For starters, there will be a garden and chickens. 

In the meantime, here's some fun projects for you!