Critical Thinking

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Primary Care – Preventive Visit – Patient Information

An email from the helpful folks at MGH about my upcoming physical:

During your upcoming preventive visit, your primary care provider may need to treat a new or a chronic problem that has changed or is worse. You may have a co-payment or deductible with your insurance plan for the additional management or treatment of the new or worsening problem(s).

Immunizations and tests (laboratory, x-rays, screening tests) may also be billed during your annual physical visit. Some tests or services may not be covered so you may have to pay coinsurance and the Medicare Part B deductible may apply.

It is important that you understand your plan’s benefits. We encourage you to learn about your health insurance benefits by calling the phone number on the back of your health insurance card, or by reviewing the website of your health insurer.

I am supposed to anticipate any new conditions that they may find as a result of my physical. I need to look up whether these conditions are covered. I need to know what tests or services are covered.  The ones I don’t know about, yet. 

It’s important that I understand this.

I need to be able to predict how sick I am going to get in order  to select the appropriate health coverage.  But, even if I select the most expensive and comprehensive coverage, there still is not guarantee I will covered

John McCain – The Restless Wave


Advice for Voters

Support  candidates who want to get things done:

“Yes, I’d rather have a few more problem solvers than purists in Washington. Their zeal may be commendable, but not, as it usually happens, terribly productive.”

“Paradoxically,” McCain writes, “voters who detest Washington, because all we do is argue and never get anything done frequently vote for candidates who are the most adamant in their assurances that they will never ever compromise with those bastards in the other party.”

“As always, more important than any political reforms is the discernment of voters. Here’s my unsolicited advice to the American voter: If a candidate for Congress pledges to ride his white horse to Washington and lay waste to all the scoundrels living off your taxes, to never work or socialize or compromise with any of them, and then somehow get them to bow to your will and the superiority of your ideas, don’t vote for that guy. It sounds exciting, but it’s an empty boast and a commitment to more gridlock.”

Gary on Privacy

I am going to write up some of my experiences with privacy and other practices for the modern world here. Here is a basic list of topics that you should have some sort of knowledge off.  Some of this is specific to MIT students, like Sophos for protective software. I use the free software for virus and malware protection by Microsoft, Windows Defender for Windows 10 and Security Essentials for Windows 7

I will be updating this:

A smart thing to do with your email and passwords

I signed up for in April of 2018. It is the European Union’s free app to help you manage your privacy. I am going to see how this works with the Ghostery extension that I use.

For all of these items there are exceptions and over rides that people need to take. You will probably have to trust, that means over ride and exempt your financial and other institutions in the privacy software that you use.

There are many more knowledgeable people and organizations than me.  I will try and give a quick overview of what I take away from some of these more knowledgeable resources.

Number 1

Federal Trade Commission Consumer Protection Agency

FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center

For Computer Professionals
One of my goto resources for over 20 years

+Privacy Whitelisting

A1) Goto Dashboard

on adblocking tab click the “filter settings” button
a2) click on the +P icon

If it it says adss blocked by this site. click it to say

x Ads not blocked by this site.

Ghostery WhiteListing

Browse to the site you want to Whitelist, click the Ghostery Icon, click trust site

+Privacy My Settings

Goto Dashboard
Ad blocking and Anti Tracking

I turned off Block Ads, some sites need advertising money.
I turned off Protect against Tracking, that’s what I use Ghostery for

At this time, I am using +Privacy to help me manage my social media settings.

I cannot fathom the Tea Party or Donald Trump

“When all else fails, there’s always delusion.” ― Conan O’Brien

Why are we?

Recklessly and needlessly jeopardizing the future of the planet and all its inhabitants
Making the decision to be healthy a financial one for our most vulnerable citizens
Reducing and corrupting the public-school system
Giving huge tax cuts to people who have literally money to burn
Terrorizing and demonizing immigrants
Rejecting reason, logic and intelligence (attacking science)
Flattering Fascists
Demeaning our allies
Flirting with war
While obliterating the meaning of honesty and integrity

No one needs automatic guns for hunting or sport shooting
I do not want to hear about your god and your religious beliefs, that is freedom of religion
Just because someone does not look like you, act like you or worship like you does not make them any less deserving of human kindness or rights
Women have a right to control their own bodies

There are legitimate gripes and complaints.  There are major problems that need to be addressed.

It is a royal pain in the ass to do a lot of things

That is inconvenience.
I would be nice if a lot of that changed

People starve to death, others live miserable lives
Others live a life of abundance
Still others live with unbelievable luxury and privilege
Many people are unfairly compensated for their efforts

That needs to change

We do a right shit job of dealing with the mentally ill, psychopaths and sociopaths.

That needs to change

Some people are arrogant, some ignorant, some stupid, some lazy, some mean, some over sensitive, some dishonest, some naive.

If you think you have the answer, your all of them

We are a divided nation.  At its core; I do not think the divisiveness is due to differences on issues or beliefs. The divisiveness is the Tea Party telling Democrats, ‘Stick it where the sun don’t shine’

Some people are skeptical of solid reasonings and gullible when it reinforces there prejudices.   This is a nice piece on one way people ignore thinking: 

I would be nice if we embraced Critical Thinking.  Real analysis and an understanding. But, there is a rather large roadblock to the adoption of common sense.

“The most preposterous notion that Homo sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

“Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.”
– Lenny Bruce

“Religion, is giving god a bad name” – Roland Van Deusen




Facebook API opt out? Here are alternatives to Share?

A work in progress

My objective is to show folks (if you know what grep is, you can stop reading ) who have opted out of the Facebook API (but are still members of Facebook) a way to share things on Facebook (and elsewhere easily).  TSS (The Short Story) is grap the link of the page you want to share and paste into the make post on Facebook. Really, it is that simple.

If you have opted out of the Facebook API, you can no longer:

  • Login to sites using login with Facebook
  • Hit the Share on Facebook button on sites
  • I have to test to see if its the same for the Like Button
  • You can’t take quizzes and surverys
  • You can’t play games
  • You can’t share directly etc from connected Social Media sites like Instagram

You can still use Facebook.  If you opt out, you decrease Facebook’s ability to track you.

This link will tell you how to opt out of the Facebook API Opt out.

It is important to remind folks that they are being actively data mined (tracked).  See Gary on Privacy and on Smart Things to do with your email.

One  of the first option that came to mind was bookmarklets.  A search for this “bookmarklet for facebook share” showed a number of options.  A lot of things you will see are like the the one Facebook offers at:

When I tested it, I complained that I had opted out.  No help.

An awful lot of the time, what you want to share to Facebook is a link to a page that you have seen.   When you see a share button, often times it is just a link to a page.

In the following examples, I show what you see when you analyze the Facebook share buttons etc. When you see stuff like this  https%3A%2F%2F , it gets translated  to text as  https://.     %3a  is ascii code in hex for :  and %2F  is ascii code in hex for /.  

Go here:  This is a link to a AARP web pages offering free shredding events across the country.

This is the code for the Facebook share button om that AARP page.  It is a link that lets facebook API handle the posting:  +with+Events+in+Communities+Nationwide

Let us break the code into 3 sections.  The first part lets the facebook share { handle the posting of the link to your feed.

The the second part, is the link that you post.  with-events-in-communities-nationwide%2F ( same as what you see for Go here above, with the % stuff translated into real stuff)  

The third part is parameters that lets the ARRP know some info we don’t care about.

&t=AARP+Launches+%E2%80%9COperation%3A+Stop+Scams%E2%80%9D+  with+Events+in+Communities+Nationwide.

So the Simplest Option :

Just copy the link {it is usually visible in your browser search bar, found at the the top}from the page you want to share and paste that link into Facebook’s make post (What is on your mind).  Let me google that for you.

I will be researching other options that people want to share and coming up with ways to share that do not require Facebook Opt in.

Here is a really simple Bookmarklet that copies the url to a pop up box that you can copy the url from.

Copy the line below


and 1) create a new bookmark 2, paste the code into the link or url field, give it any name you want

The NRA is Evil

Their persistent fear mongering, gross distortion and fabrication of the facts is a clear and present danger to a civilized society.

I would avoid NRA members and their sympathizers’ like I avoid psychopaths, sociopaths and other mentally ill people who are a danger to others.

They have turned a blind eye to the mass murder of innocents with weapons of mass destruction.

They have a complete disregard for the real consequences of their infatuation with guns.

They have a lot of blood on their hands.

We have suffered through years of their ridiculous justifications and wild excuses.  There is no use trying to talk to them.

Child Theme and Plugin Development Cycle

I hope someone who has a better process than this shares some of their secrets.  I am a software engineer who has been developing for WordPress for a few years. I mostly have done projects that were outside of normal WordPress Development. For example, ported a Custom CMS into WordPress. I did custom landing pages with a WordPress backend.  For I while I have been editing my plugin code in place, under wp-content.  I make some changes.  I reload the page. Where the F*(&*^ are my changes?  Oh, I forgot to clear the browser cache.  I test my changes on another site.  I clear the browser cache.  Where are my changes? Oh, I forgot to clear the WordPress cache in use.  Still after clearing both caches, I had some issues with see my updates once in a while.  If I only changed a css file or a js file, it sometimes, did not update.  Mostly on odd days of the week, even when you change what day of the week it starts on.  You really have to watch this stuff.  Sometimes its date related.  Phase of the moon. Rain and inclement weather play a part, sometimes the bit bucket needs emptying.  It is always something.  See  for more suggestions.

So the first thing I do is move the source, to source control. Git is the flavor of the year (previously popular flavors are Mercurial, SVN, CVS, Source Safe ..). Then I document what I think should work. Here is the cycle I use:

– code
I make changes in the hope that one of my mistakes will prove useful, and to move towards my desired effect.  gmgj is the name of my plugin (also its folder etc)

– touch gmgj.php in plugin , functions.php in child theme
Just to be clear, in this case “Touch” is a programming term, where you use a utility to update the modified time of a file, even if you have not updated. The #MeTo has a very different use for the term.

– deactivate plugin, sometimes I have had to change the theme, but not so much
– move in new code

I use a bat file, sort of like this:
@echo off

cd "C:\path to source"
rem this is the touch
copy /b gmgj.php +,,
rem this is the move
xcopy "C:\path to source\*.*" "C:\path to WorPress \wp-content\plugins\gmgj\*.*" /s /r /y /q /d /EXCLUDE:excludeus.dat

rem delete the old zip and recreate the new zip, the zip file is what you upload to new WordPress Installations to install your plugin
del /Q C:\path to source\
cd "C:\up a level\"
rem this includes some file extensions, excludes others, there are better ways rem to do this.
rem Why? I keep the project html file and other utility files in the same rem directory as the project
"C:\Program Files\7-Zip\7z.exe" a "" -x!gmgj\*.html -x!gmgj\*.dat -i!gmgj\*.php -i!gmgj\*.css -i!gmgj\*.js -i!gmgj\*.JPG

excludeus.dat is:

– hit wordpress plugin “Clear Cache for Me” on the admin dashboard
– I use the FANTASTIC utility Web Developer clear cache to clear the browser cache

– activate the plugin and cross all fingers and toes.  If that does not help:

– check php error log and start Browser developer tools and check for other errors
– use php error_log() and javascript console.log()
– if problems like not updating code
– admin logout , close browser

– delete plugin and upload via zip file
– start and stop apache and mysql, restart computer, get a coffee …
– roll version numbers
– ?
swing a rubber chicken

I would be remiss if I did not point out that when I calling things like wp_enqueue_style and wp_enqueue_script, I use the version parameter like this.  Please note, I did not originally come up with this idea.  When I looked at the source for a number of projects, the following appears to be standard practice.

$gmgj_js_url = plugins_url( 'gmgj_test.js', __FILE__ ); 
$gmgj_js_path = plugin_dir_path( 'gmgj_test.js');

 array( 'jquery', 'jquery-effects-core' , 'jquery-effects-explode'),

This the magic that makes the version stuff work

function gmgjversion_id($pluginpath) {
 return filemtime($pluginpath);
 //return '012';

Updating the child theme is similar.


“Fuck you, I like guns.”

Anastasia Writes

Edited to add: I can’t thank you all enough for interacting with this post. I am actually surprised that it’s become this popular. This is the first time more than ten people have read anything I’ve written here. I’m probably going to turn off commenting soon because everything that can be said already has been. In general, I’d like to point out that this is an opinion piece. I wrote it on a 15 minute coffee break and posted it unedited. It’s raw, and that’s the whole point. The tone, the language, and the style are intentional. This was written for people like my mostly conservative Army buddies who will never click an article that is titled “Gun control is your friend”, and tend to assume those who support such legislation have never seen a gun before. I’m not a professional writer, nor a particularly prolific blogger until about three…

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