Wednesday, October 22, 2014

OpenSSH Debian Wheezy with Google Authenticator and Pubkey.

This set up requires OpenSSH 6.6 or greater

Add wheezy-backports

  • sudo su
  • echo 'deb wheezy-backports main' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/wheezy-packports.list
  • apt-get update

Install openssh and google authenticator for PAM

  • apt-get install openssh-server libpam-google-authenticator -y

Configure PAM
edit /etc/pam.d/sshd and add the following line before @include common-auth
auth sufficient

Configure SSH
Edit /etc/ssh/sshd_config by changing the following values

  • ChallengeResponseAuthentication yes
  • PubkeyAuthentication yes

Add this line too:

  • AuthenticationMethods publickey,keyboard-interactive

Restart ssh

  • service ssh restart

Bypass google authenticator for trusted network or host, will still need public key or password
Add these lines at the end of /etc/ssh/sshd_config (keep indentation)

  • Match Address IP_ADDRESS/CIDR
  •     AuthenticationMethods publickey

Restart ssh

  • service ssh restart

For greater security, also require the user's password to log in - modify:

  • edit /etc/pam.d/sshd and add the following line before @include common-auth
  • auth required

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Metaphysics and the paranormal: The jazz hands of life

I am baffled by people's reaction when I point out that the paranormal and the metaphysical are all garbage and, as I see them, vectors for abuse. More importantly, they take away from the actual mystery, wonder and beauty of the world because what is exalted and appreciated instead is the "jazz hands" and not the raw beauty of the subject.

Go after your dreams.

Your dreams and goals, especially those you formulate as a young adult while getting ready for the world, are not flights of fancy. Pursuing your dreams is not an indulgence. Abandoning or neglecting the pursuit of your dreams for the sake of what's easy or practical is soul crushing and self-defeating. Pursuing your dreams is not only your duty, it is your birthright. - Anthony Camilo.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Dear "The Onion" RE: Ms. Wallis Oscar Tweet apology.

Apology unnecesary, this was classic Onion humor and hilarious. Wendell Pierce is a self righteous and humorless cunt. It is obvious that this was satire and not meant seriously. Anyone who complained about this should be ashamed, specially since they all obviously let their kids read The Onion. I will be very dissapointed if The Onion "disciplines" the author of the joke, unless of course it involves Ms. Wallis tweeting that he's a poopy face.

Monday, February 18, 2013

On Depression

This is a comment I made to a post on

 I've been depressed since my teens, but I wasn't diagnosed and treated until my late 20's. I am now almost 46, but just before I turned 40, a good friend committed suicide and shortly after that I was hospitalized for eight days for threatening to cut my own throat at work - I did not hurt myself or have ever attempted suicide, however I know exactly how I would do it if I ever chose to do it, although it is an option I no longer accept.
Current status: I am comfortable and having frequently more good days than bad. The thought of wanting to die is less persistent for me, although it is still there but more as an annoying thought, like a song that's stuck in your head.
Methods: I'll share what has been most effective for me, in no particular order:
  • Finding the right medication (I tried several, Lexapro has worked best for me).
  • Finding a therapist that acts as coach and shares your general views in life. I am a skeptic and an atheist and I was unable to find a therapist that wasn't religious or believed in pseudo-science,- I've seen about a dozen different therapist and eventually I tire them out or I just plain quit.
  • Learning to be my own "care-taker" - Buddhism based mindfulness teachings have helped me a great deal - not the supernatural crap, but the practical stuff like learning to let go of emotional and personal attachments, learning to judge people less, specially myself. Detaching myself from my anger. The best source to learn this for me has been podcast by Gil Fronsdal out of Red Wood City, CA, he's a Buddhist teacher who explains the teachings of the Buddha without supernatural junk.
  • Eating well and doing some exercise; much like depression is a vicious circle where it feeds and grows on itself - healthy living is also a self-sustaining circle. I don't do this nearly enough, I am overweight but having had a particularly bad end of 2012, this last few months have been better because of this.
  • Reaching out to people without sharing my pain - you'll eventually find someone with whom you safely can do so.
  • Finding a creative outlet or an outlet for something you like to do. For me this was Improv. Using that outlet to "vent" those negative thoughts, sometimes writing them down and tossing the paper away or deleting the file is surprisingly effective.
  • Constant self education about depression and how our brain works, read up on human perception and logical fallacies.
  • Some of these realizations came from or were enforced by a book called The Four Agreements - there's a lot of useless shamanic crap in it, but the agreements themselves are quite powerful;
  1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
  4. Always Do Your Best Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
  • I have added two of my own agreements:
    1. Live Bravely Learn to recognize and manage your fears and DON'T JUDGE yourself for having them.
    2. Be your own best friend Sometimes people with the right shoulder to lean on or the right ear for that moment will not be available. When you are bummed out or down most people will just not want to be around you, this is when you have to step up and be your own best friend - engage in something that generates happiness, specially when you just don't feel like it.
  • Learn some mental gymnastics that you can accept as healthy: I don't ever expect to "be" happy - I treat happiness as a byproduct of doing stuff that is good for me like visiting with friends and family, seeing my nieces and nephew, going to a show or concert, going on a road trip - doing stuff that's the opposite of what makes me feel unhappy. I actively try to look for "beauty" (can't think of a better word) around me: in nature, in people and in whatever I can find.
Not any one of these "discoveries" will work for everyone, it is a cumulative process that has worked for me. We are on an extremely difficult road and it is nearly impossible to get off. I have resolved to "manage" it and that has been working for me. I hope my "methods" work for you and anyone who reads them - feel free to PM me if I you have any questions.

  • Patience Be patient with yourself, this leads to calm which helps you recognize when you're mulling over negative thoughts. Be patient with others. As you can tell by the responses here, there is a lot of us in the same boat and it is unlikely that any two of us will deal with it the same way which I call that the 'spicy food theory'; I can eat spicier/hotter food than many of my friends and most of my family, e.g.; I can tolerate more of that kind of pain than those friends/family can. The same way some of us are able to tolerate what life throws at you.

An important clarification on 
JUDGINGJudging yourself and others gets better the less you do it. When you are learning to accept and use this notion it doesn't only apply to negative judging, i.e. you're dumb, that person is X, etc... Judging also applies to positive thoughts: i.e. I'm better looking than I thought, I am good - he/she is awesome. This is because positive judging can more readily turn to a negative if the thing we judged as good, stops being so even for a second - it is part of managing expectations which are in themselves a type of judging.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


In response to

CEO salaries are not the only income they receive, you are neglecting to include company stock, performance bonuses, goal bonuses and other perks which very few if any of the minimum wage employees receive yet, they contribute towards.

Hierarchy and casts are societal needs. Some people want to be rich and work hard to get there, but that does not entitle them to everything beyond their hard earned gains. There is no benefit to the rest of society and to the person who, in some cases, earns more than one thousand times the wages of any of their employees.
Why should any person or family be deprived of basic health care, a living wage, the ability to save some of their money just because a few of us have this delusion that financial and material poverty is a choice.

Costco is a good example of a company treating their employees fairly and, it makes a profit. Their profits may not be greater than some of their competitors but they are a financially healthy company and as a result are getting very positive press.

It is obvious to me that the more people that can make a living wage, the greater the potential for financial gain at the top. People spend and buy things when they have enough money to do so, it is counter to capitalism when that is not the case.

Risk taking is a "virtue" the financially successful, but it is clear that some are not willing to risk giving their employees a living wage and access to some of the basic services and benefits that they receive.

For these so called "visionaries" this is a very myopic view of society. It is not a sentimental prejudice, this is rational proportionality.

Monday, October 08, 2012

No, you're not entitled to your opinion

By Patrick Stokes, Deakin University
(This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.)

Every year, I try to do at least two things with my students at least once. First, I make a point of addressing them as “philosophers” – a bit cheesy, but hopefully it encourages active learning.
Secondly, I say something like this: “I’m sure you’ve heard the expression ‘everyone is entitled to their opinion.’ Perhaps you’ve even said it yourself, maybe to head off an argument or bring one to a close. Well, as soon as you walk into this room, it’s no longer true. You are not entitled to your opinion. You are only entitled to what you can argue for.”
A bit harsh? Perhaps, but philosophy teachers owe it to our students to teach them how to construct and defend an argument – and to recognize when a belief has become indefensible.
The problem with “I’m entitled to my opinion” is that, all too often, it’s used to shelter beliefs that should have been abandoned. It becomes shorthand for “I can say or think whatever I like” – and by extension, continuing to argue is somehow disrespectful. And this attitude feeds, I suggest, into the false equivalence between experts and non-experts that is an increasingly pernicious feature of our public discourse.
Firstly, what’s an opinion?
Plato distinguished between opinion or common belief (doxa) and certain knowledge, and that’s still a workable distinction today: unlike “1+1=2” or “there are no square circles,” an opinion has a degree of subjectivity and uncertainty to it. But “opinion” ranges from tastes or preferences, through views about questions that concern most people such as prudence or politics, to views grounded in technical expertise, such as legal or scientific opinions.
You can’t really argue about the first kind of opinion. I’d be silly to insist that you’re wrong to think strawberry ice cream is better than chocolate. The problem is that sometimes we implicitly seem to take opinions of the second and even the third sort to be unarguable in the way questions of taste are. Perhaps that’s one reason (no doubt there are others) why enthusiastic amateurs think they’re entitled to disagree with climate scientists and immunologists and have their views “respected.”
Meryl Dorey is the leader of the Australian Vaccination Network, which despite the name is vehemently anti-vaccine. Ms. Dorey has no medical qualifications, but argues that if Bob Brown is allowed to comment on nuclear power despite not being a scientist, she should be allowed to comment on vaccines. But no-one assumes Dr. Brown is an authority on the physics of nuclear fission; his job is to comment on the policy responses to the science, not the science itself.
So what does it mean to be “entitled” to an opinion?
If “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion” just means no-one has the right to stop people thinking and saying whatever they want, then the statement is true, but fairly trivial. No one can stop you saying that vaccines cause autism, no matter how many times that claim has been disproven.
But if ‘entitled to an opinion’ means ‘entitled to have your views treated as serious candidates for the truth’ then it’s pretty clearly false. And this too is a distinction that tends to get blurred.
On Monday, the ABC’s Mediawatch program took WIN-TV Wollongong to task for running a story on a measles outbreak which included comment from – you guessed it – Meryl Dorey. In a response to a viewer complaint, WIN said that the story was “accurate, fair and balanced and presented the views of the medical practitioners and of the choice groups.” But this implies an equal right to be heard on a matter in which only one of the two parties has the relevant expertise. Again, if this was about policy responses to science, this would be reasonable. But the so-called “debate” here is about the science itself, and the “choice groups” simply don’t have a claim on air time if that’s where the disagreement is supposed to lie.
Mediawatch host Jonathan Holmes was considerably more blunt: “there’s evidence, and there’s bulldust,” and it’s no part of a reporter’s job to give bulldust equal time with serious expertise.
The response from anti-vaccination voices was predictable. On the Mediawatch site, Ms. Dorey accused the ABC of “openly calling for censorship of a scientific debate.” This response confuses not having your views taken seriously with not being allowed to hold or express those views at all – or to borrow a phrase from Andrew Brown, it “confuses losing an argument with losing the right to argue.” Again, two senses of “entitlement” to an opinion are being conflated here.
So next time you hear someone declare they’re entitled to their opinion, ask them why they think that. Chances are, if nothing else, you’ll end up having a more enjoyable conversation that way.
Read more from Patrick Stokes: The ethics of bravery
Patrick Stokes does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.
The Conversation
This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Bland Chicken and Soggy Waffle Fries

I find the spin given the Chick-fil-a issue by the right and anti gay rights supporters, sickening. Calling the outcry against Chic-fil-a a irst amendment rights issue is downright irresponsible. Chick-fil-a has not been sanctioned by any government organization for their stance against same-sex marriage, the first amendment is not applicable based on that fact alone.
Also this isn't just "an opinion"; Chick-fil-A actively denies civil rights to people with whose lifestyles they disagree when they financially support groups that ensure the denial of marriage rights to Americans.

Inter-racial marriage, marriage between black people and suffrage were once illegally denied to American blacks and women. Fortunately, the supreme court intervened (in unpopular decisions) to enforce those rights, which were guaranteed to all Americans under our constitution.

This is a civil rights issue, not a gender or sexual preference issue. Americans are being denied rights that the rest of us take for granted.

Many companies in the past (and present) have supported oppressive governments and political groups against people in their own countries and outside their own borders. The only thing that we, as consumers, can do is not buy their products when they take these inhuman stances. I paraphrase Tolstoy: "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing."

Chick-fil-A makes good food. They can run their business as they see fit within the law of the land. I imagine that most people protesting them, will be back eating delicious waffle fries the moment Chick-fil-a does two things:
A) Stop supporting hate groups and organizations whose charter is to deny civil rights to Americans.
B) They publicly disavow their current political stance on civil rights, and promise not to do so again.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Please donate a few bucks for Jessica Ahlquist's scholarship fund.

Jessica is a teenager and high-school student who has successfully sued her school to remove a prayer mural at her school's auditorium. This is a re-post from the Friendly Atheist blog you can read more here:Jessica Ahlquist Has Won Her Lawsuit! | Friendly Atheist