Saturday, November 15, 2014

Hackers on Social Media

They are bold and nothing is sacred. For the sake of spamming people with shoe ads, they'll steal your password, post on your page and send messages with virus links to everyone in your friend list. If you think that's all they'll do, guess again. They'll actually pretend to be you and talk to people on your list trying to convince them that the bogus links are safe to click on.

What you are seeing is a massive undertaking that isn't the work of just one person. No, they have entire companies of people doing this. Mostly they are in third world countries, but some actually wind up being in the US, Canada, or UK. They are constantly developing new ways to try and trick you into accepting their spy and malware. They are the worlds most awful rip off artists. And they aren't afraid to pretend to be anyone at all, including your own mother.

There are a few failing points to them that the size of the undertaking may cause them to miss. Here are a few ways you can protect yourself and exploit their own mistakes to do so.

1: Change your password regularly. And don't be simple about it. Use at least one capital letter, some numbers and symbols. Write them down and keep them next to your computer. After all, it's not a physical burglar in your home you need to worry about, it's the online monster. You should do this for all your passwords because that's the way of today. Mixed up passwords are harder for their algorithms to figure out. You should change your password every month to keep things hard to catch. So don't just use your dog's name. Use your dogs name like this 1960Fido@$^.  Facebook's password allows for this for a reason. Or mix even further 19Fido@$^60. However you can handle but make sure it's not simple or just one kind of symbols.

2: NEVER NEVER NEVER click on that! When you get sent a link from "tinyurl" or something that suggests there's a photo of you or something "cute" to see, don't click on it. They will get very clever in saying things that make it sound very personal and even endearing, but what they miss is that Facebook often shows previews of where a link will go if it's legit. Try it. Post a youtube link on your page. What does it do? It shows a pic right? The links they send don't show any previews ever because that would give them away. Fact is, no one should ever send a blind link to you without being very specific about why they think it fits your particular interests and without telling you straight what it's about. With that information missing or being very vague, it's a virus 99.9% of the time. You should immediately delete the message or report it as spam. After all, if there's an image someone wants you to see, what's preventing them from just sharing it with you directly?

3: When they try to talk to you: They will do their vague best to seem like your friend, but they are missing some valuable information:
  A: They have no idea what your actual "friend" relationship is to that person. They don't know if you ever met in person, ever talked on the phone, or anything.
  B: Apparently they don't have time to study the person they are copying. They don't know where that person lives, what they do, or anything about them that you might know. Even if you don't know, you can trip them up pretty easily. Here's what you do:

Ask them questions. If you do know something about them, ask something only that friend would remember. If not, fake them out.

"Hey, great to hear from you! Do you remember what we talked about on the phone last week?"

Now if you didn't talk on the phone, the proper answer would be "We've never spoken on the phone." Anything else is a red flag unless you actually did and they try to say yes (believe it or not this has happened). Now if they assigned a bot to the account, you will trip it up ten ways to Sunday because it's not programmed to answer those questions. It will just repeat it's programmed dialogue.

Sadly, when someone's account get's hacked, they may get blocked out of their own account, leaving you little recourse but to drop them from your friends list like a hot rock. That person will have to go through the report process to fix their account or get a new account altogether. Don't be afraid to get clever in figuring out if that person is an imposter. You may be protecting everyone in your friends list.

And always always always, be wary of non-friends sending vague "hi" messages to you. Block them. Anyone who sends you a message should be detailed and forward about why they are contacting you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

So you want my vote

In our recent midterm election we had a voter turnout of just 1 third of the country. That's the lowest turnout in 72 years. Now you can go ahead and say that 2/3 of our country have no right to complain, but I say they are complaining in the loudest voice possible. National morale is at an all time low. Why is that? Because they aren't seeing improvements, that's why. Just more problems. Problems like;

75,000 American veterans and their families HOMELESS. And just what are they doing about it? The media is sure busy hyping ISIS and Ebola, but what about our larger problems at home like this one. And it's not just our veterans. LINK.  Yeah, go look at that page and it's details about homelessness. It's not a pretty picture. A new program is needed and soon.

The battle for minimum wage increase: Don't forget our unemployment rate of 5.9% (that has actually dropped from almost 10% in the last 4 years, but for what kind of jobs?). When you look at the poverty ratio of 13.6% you have to wonder how everyone makes ends meet. Obviously it's not helping that much with homelessness at an all time high. People with families aren't covering the cost of living and there's more to that than just the pay rate. Yes, I know corporations will just increase charges when the rate is raised in 2016. That's why the next item is:

The ridiculous cost of living: Utilities raise their rates whenever they feel the slightest pinch to their bottom line. In most places they are the only people you can go to for your electricity so there's no competition. That's being abused as some companies raise their rates as often as 3 times a year. Yes, we should do our best to save energy, but the corporate response to raise costs to cover it. So you still pay out the nose for your electricity. Unfair charges are everywhere from gas and oil to the grocery store. Every year the companies boast about how they made millions of additional profits and they're so damn happy. We don't see those profits. No, instead, just to live, we have to pay, pay, pay and pay some more. The rampant raising of costs needs to be nipped in the bud. One way to get started on this:

Corporations in government: They don't belong there and it needs to end. The government should be the one regulating corporations, not the other way around. But just when it looks like the people will get some respite, some corporation is paying their way to riches and loopholes. Kick them out of government and make them behave. Just because you're a billionaire and own oil, grocery chains, or automobile manufacturing, doesn't mean you get to own politicians. They should get no better treatment than the "working class". It's because of them that the middle class is all but extinct. Kick them out and put a cap on the rate raising madness.

Public Ignorance: LINK.  Here's one for you. Our country ranks number 2 in pure ignorance of things like teen pregnancy and unemployment rates. That follows hand in hand with acceptance versus stigma of various groups and ethnicities. Rememeber this? United we stand, divided we fall. We are divided and very little is being done to correct that. That ignorance goes all the way to the top with our politicians. Just check out the quotes they get caught with. Google stupid political quotes or something like that and prepare to have your mind blown.

Education: Here's a fun one. With all the failing school systems someone had the bright idea to make it worse with common core. Don't get help for the teachers in their overcrowded class rooms or anything like that, noooooooo. Instead, let us complicate the material! Then, while they're overloaded and underpaid, let's give them all guns. Because they don't have enough on their minds already. Never mind the failure of IEPs and education law. With the consistent increase in IEP's and kids with issues, the system needs to change to compensate or leave a lot of kids behind. Another failing in government promises.

It's stress, stress, stress, and people aren't seeing any relief. What do they expect? Voting truly looks like a useless endeavor. None of the major problems of our country are getting suitable improvements. You want my vote? Show me that these issues are going to actually get action. Show me help for our homeless instead of jail for people who feed them. Bring back "protect and serve"  in our police force. Correct the cost of living and improve education resources. Show me that real work is actually being done. We're supposed to be the greatest country in the world, but that is being ruined. Put a stop to it! (yeah, I know I barely scratched the surface)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Autism is not a reason to murder children

I figured there were enough people talking about this already, but the media is making this look like a trend and it has to stop!

London McCabe's mother, pressured by taking care of her disable husband and a six year old non-verbal with autism, threw him off a damn bridge. Then she called the police and turned herself in claiming voices told her to do it. It's debatable that she's been at the snapping limit for some time from snippets of her blog still floating around. She even had people sending donations to help her. I'm sure they just weren't enough. All the same, I'm not buying that she had any good reason kill her child. Why not call the police and tell them she's at the bridge and ABOUT to kill him? Maybe then he wouldn't be dead. Yes, it would be traumatic, but even as an autistic myself, I say that's better than dead. I have no compassion for this woman for the death of her child who was seen as pretty well behaved by witnesses. Anyway....

Katie McCarron's case is a bit older by way of 2006. Her mother smothered her with a plastic bag. Katie had autism. The woman is currently incarcerated. I can only hope her child's memory haunts her every day as it should with anyone who kills their own child. Her mother Karen cited guilt over vaccinating her child, and blamed vaccines for her desire to commit murder. This is just one more reason why "anti-vaccine thinking" will never gain ground with me. They'd rather see children dead than with autism. Regardless, it doesn't end there.





Jude Mirra, murdered by his mother in 2014 by lethal dose of drugs because he has autism. 8 years old. She also tried to kill herself but failed. Depression is no laughing matter and I'm not one to mock it, but kids are dying needlessly and for little more reason than they have a medical condition. Before you come at me with her hardships let me just toss this out.... MOM WAS AN EFFING MILLIONAIRE! You'd think there were still other routes than DEATH. Especially when you're loaded to the gills with money. Yes, I read the details of the case. She claims to have killed him to save him.... bullshit.




Alex Spourdalakis, autistic, 14 and brutally murdered in 2013. Lack of benefits and financial hardships seen as the trigger. While I refuse to excuse people for killing their children, there is a matter in dire need of attention. It is TRUE that proper services are lacking by way of lofty costs that put them out of reach for suffering families. Depending on the state you live in, you can be in a hard hard place. It can feel more lonely and desolate that the darkest pit of hell. So those in political power better start paying attention.

Fact is, there is a lot more than just families with disabled kids snapping and killing. Lack of jobs, lack of services, lack of assistance in education or medical, lack of respite assistance, lack of a living wage if you do have a damn job.... people are losing it out there. The common citizen is facing stressors that our day and age shouldn't be. Add disabilities to it and it seems to be pushed even further with these people.  Like I said, I don't excuse them for it. I'm sickened by it.

When treatments and supports are where they are supposed to be, I've seen children brought back from the brink and given hope. Autism is not a reason to take a life. Not only does that message need to get pounded out clearly, but our system needs fixing at the same time.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Anti-Vaxxers may be hypocrites if...

LANGUAGE WARNING

My bent sense of humor can’t help itself. This nice big jab at the anti-vaccine movement has been on my mind and it needs to meet paper and pen. Well, internet publishing anyway. But, like any form of zealotry, hard core anti-vaxxers who say “never inject” are a bunch of hypocrites. They say not to give your child “poisons” like they have the slightest clue. Here’s my list on the subject, because IF you are one of those anti-vaxxers who wants all vaccines to disappear (because measles is more fun) and you do any of the following, you’re a damned hypocrite.

Dine at any restaurant: I don’t care if it’s fast food or high class. If you’re so worried about poisons getting into your system and you eat food from animals who have had vaccines (and you have no idea so don’t even try) then you are a hypocrite. Yet, we’ve been eating this crap for generations and we are still here. Funny how that works out. Speaking of eating, the next one ties nicely into this one!

Consume ANY form of packaged food: From your sugars and spices clear down to a fucking candy bar. Mmmm, what a yummy Snickers you’re enjoying there….. guess who made the preservatives in it. Go on, guess. There are preservatives in every bottled or packaged form of food on your grocery store shelves.. ALL OF THEM and unless you pay out the nose for super short lived organics that may be lying to you for a dollar, the preservatives were all made by our government with the help of what you call BIG PHARMA. Eat, drink, and enjoy because you’re a hypocrite. And yes, this includes the foods at your favorite restaurant.

If you go to the dentist: Oh noes, it’s BIG PHARMA again. But you don’t need Novocain or laughing gas do you? Nah, you’re rough and tough. Have fun with that root canal.

If you brush your teeth with anything but water: Go ahead, tell me you use baking soda. Baking soda is packaged in a damn factory the same as every fucking thing else. Be sure to look up what factory it’s packaged in so you can see what other products are packaged in the same place. Enjoy your new nightmares of BIG PHARMA. Toothpaste and mouthwash contain fluoride and that’s in so many places you’ll just shit yourself to know.

If you use deodorant: Go grab your speedstick or whatever the hell you use and look at the back of it. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Now READ IT. See where it says DRUG FACTS right at the top of the label. Huh. Why would it say that? BECAUSE IT’S A DAMN PHARMACUETICAL, DUMBASS. And every portion of what you are shoving into the pores of your skin is poisonous. Go ahead, look up the ingredients yourself. The same goes for things like soap and shampoo. And you’re worried about the peon money they don’t make on vaccines.

If you smoke or drink: You’re worried about chemical injections for your kids, but second hand smoke is A-okay? Drinking your liver into oblivion around your kids is alright? Wow, you are stand up parent, aren’t you? Nope, just a hypocrite.

Unless you live in a hole in the ground, home school your child (school lunches and preservatives you know), bathe in creek water with rocks, never brush your teeth or use hygiene and live off of tree bark and squirrels….you’re a hypocrite. It just goes to show that you really have no clue just how much of these things are all around us.



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Stupid Things on Anti-Vaccines

LANGUAGE WARNING
I realize this kind of language is not the norm for this blog, but this is a special situation. Just be warned.

For those who have been following my tiff on Facebook about the anti-vax propaganda, this should come as no surprise, especially with my recent experiences. I had no idea just how insane the anti-vaccine cult really is, but I got cold water introduction! So I'm going to be very candid and blunt here. Vaccines save lives and trying to abolish them WILL GET PEOPLE KILLED. Not that you can explain that to an anti-vaxxer. They have a one way mind that is immune to actual scientific fact. I can actually almost prove that.

Small recap: What started this for me was some yoyos telling me that I'm a traitor because I have autism and I'm not viciously anti-vaccine like they are. And frankly, I've had it with the ridiculous propaganda geared to misinform and fear monger people away from vaccines that keep deadly and disabling diseases at bay. And, of course, they can't leave well enough alone so this is what it comes to:

Sounds good to me

So I've done just that. I made memes and shouted from the rooftops and that sure got their attention (finally). I started out with a general message saying to just drop me, but that wasn't enough. Once I joined a pro-vaccine Facebook page though.... that brings me to stupid thing number 1:

GETTING VILLAINIZED: Check that out. Apparently I'm so dangerous I warrant a call to arms! I've been dropped or blocked by over 30 people. Once even left a nasty message on my wall before blocking me in order to run away. If this is how they handle rejection, why would anyone want to be like them? Worse, are they really so paranoid that they think I'm going to start stalking them? HAH! Go ahead, you fruitcakes, block me. It means I don't have to see your garbage any more. This behavior just concretes my position. I'm glad they're scattered across the country and not local or I might get lynch mobbed and set on fire. I am being smeared and misquoted but I really don't care. Screw em.

FACT EVASION: I've actually tried debating with folks in the anti-vac crowd and WOW. These people dodge facts better than a deadbeat dad avoids child support. It immediately reminded me of a scene in the Matrix. It doesn't matter what source material you use, what historical figures you show, they'll either pretend they don't see it or claim it's a big pharma lie (with absolutely no evidence). Holy shit, I've never seen mental contortionists like this before! 

CDC WHISTLEBLOWER: Speaking of facts; some guy goes and digs up a dead horse study, picks and chooses what he thinks works for him and creates this whole whistleblower campaign. That would be this guy, Brian Hooker. He even chumped a CDC scientist and recorded him without given knowledge. Since this debacle, some of the most respected authorities outside of the CDC and around the fucking world, have gone over his supposed find with a fine toothed comb and DEBUNKED IT. But none of them care. They grasp any straw of desperation they can find to abolish all vaccines. It's pure insanity at it's best. 

OBSCURE EVIDENCE: That isn't evidence at all. It's all guilt by association coincidence. You show them a thousand pages of information that proves vaccines don't cause autism and they'll come up with an obscure sentence from the back of a cereal box that seems like it could support them if we lived in an alternate dimension. As soon as you point out the flaws in their supposed evidence they completely lose their shit (see Facebook image above). 

BUT THE GOVERNMENT LIES! Yeah, sure they do. Oh, but HISTORY DOESN'T! Instead of hand picking a collection of snippets from propaganda papers, try going to a library and picking up and actual BOOK. They call out for us to do our research, we do, then they go nuts. 

EBOLA: Let the insanity explode. I've had these people try to tell me that Ebola is airborne (BULLSHIT) or being used to cull the population (SUPER STEAMING BULLSHIT). But the big fave for me has to be this: according to the anti-vax crowd it may be caused by vaccines. Have you ever come across something so amazingly fucking stupid that you immediately raced across the room and put your head through the wall? It should be extremely painful to be that dumb. 

These people are truly scary. I understand those who have dealt with vaccine injury, I really do, but there's also NO way of knowing if that is what truly happened, even if the timing is right there with when your child got their shots. And vaccines do not cause autism! VACCINES DO NOT CAUSE AUTISM. Vaccine  injury mimics autism very well, but if your child has Asperger's, they DON'T have vaccine injury. 

Something has to be done. People are being scared into following this quackery and it's going to bring back some disease that will truly fuck people up. You want me to wake up? You first, nutbar.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Teaching autistic children public safety

If your child is anything like mine, they announce everything on their minds to total strangers instantly upon seeing them. That includes guy walking by on the sidewalk, cashiers, construction workers, and anyone else.

No apprehension of strangers is a scary thing to deal with. If your child has wanderlust, it's even worse. So what do you do to help protect your child.

Learning is a long process. You have to accept that from the start. Teaching your child the risks of stranger danger has to be repeated over and over again for years. If your child is high functioning, they may eventually mature enough to understand. This is realizing that reality is not the same for all our kids.

That's why we are our children's best line of defense and we need to create an atmosphere that's conducive to teaching them what they need to know.

Can you let your child to go next door and play with a neighbor child? If so, speaking with the other child's parents about your concerns can go a long way. If there's a good rapport with your neighbor you could let them know that your child has no fear of strangers and is at risk. Offer an open door policy for you and your neighbor to talk openly.

Share your concerns with school, therapist, and counselors. Anyone trustworthy you can get on board to help you reinforce social safety is a plus.

Coach your child often! When I take my son to public places I remind him of our rules when it comes to strangers. This includes:

No announcements: Our lives are private and we don't need to tell everyone what we are doing.
Stay by me: No wandering off. This may need several reminders as things distract, but it's important.

If we get separated, my son knows to head for the cash registers and customer service counter. I know, quite a few of our kids won't be able to do that. They'll either panic outright or just get distracted by something. One way to alleviate this is to role play (if possible for your child) and practice what to do or where to go.

Our kids can learn safety rules and measures for social safety, it just takes longer than with typical children. We have to be watchful and point out issues that they miss. The more we coach and teach, the more likely they will develop some level of safety skill.

Granted this is just a nutshell overview, but it is blog post after all. Have questions? Ask away in comments! Comments are moderated so please be patient.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Autism and Street Smarts: Avoiding Trouble

No advice is perfect for everyone and this is no exception. This is aimed at the high functioning who may be able to take care of themselves. Still, this may be of use to anyone in variable ways.

My experience comes from being on my own in the streets from age 14. I survived a long list of things that people have told me I shouldn't have been able to. But I did. As a child in the streets of Barstow, California; I was offered a place in the darkest criminal elements, yet I avoided them. Knowing what I know today, it's hard for me to figure out how I avoided them, but saying no actually worked for me. I'm not giving a list of the things I was asked to do by creeps looking for street urchin kids because I would have to give a trigger warning. What's important is how I survived and how you can avoid getting into trouble by some basic rules.

I developed these rules as a means to survival where it mattered most. While I hope none of you are in such dark situations, perhaps this will keep you out of them.

Rule #1: "It's none of my business". This is what I would say to people who started talking to me about illegal things they wanted to do. When someone approached me about an idea that I knew would cause me problems or get me arrested or even killed; I would just say "that's none of my business" and excuse myself for some fake errand I had to do . Let other people go get themselves in trouble. Don't preach at them, don't try to interfere directly (anonymous calls to police are fine), just use the phrase and get out of there. The whole idea is to get to a safe place and away from the threat.

You might wonder why that worked on people who tried to recruit me for their dirty deeds. I may have been lucky, but it seemed to impress (weirdly enough). In several cases, I had someone say to me, "keep saying that and you'll live a long time". That was good enough for me.

Rule #2: Pay attention to whats going on around you. For those of us with sensory disorders that never shut up, this is actually easy. So long as you stay in well lit areas and practice looking like you know exactly what you are doing, you'll make yourself less of a target. Practice noticing what is going on around you so you can avoid spots that look like trouble. While you are paying attention and being alert there is a very important pointer here:  DO NOT STARE AT ANYONE. A passing glance or using your peripheral vision is good enough. Practice noticing things out of the corner of your eye at home. Noticing small details can save your life. Remember, the idea is noticing what to avoid. It's okay to change your entire route for this purpose. More on that in a minute.

Rule #3: Don't go where you don't belong.  Most of us autistics already dislike crowds so we have a great excuse. If you are about to walk down a street you don't know and it's got shifty looking people hanging out on cars, smoking and drinking and it even looks dangerous... don't go that way. Keep to well lit and public accessed streets. Don't be wandering around at odd hours of the night. Stay out of back alleys. You can usually research and find out where high crime areas of your city or town are so you can stay away. You can research online or ask a trusted source such as a police officer (believe it or not).

Rule #4: If you must walk through the dark, do it like you just don't care. This is an exception to rule 3. There may come a time where you just have no choice but to walk down that block past those dangerous looking guys. You have to act like it just doesn't matter to you where you have to go. Think of the coolest and calmest day you ever knew in your life and walk like that. If someone nods at you, nod back, but keep moving. Don't stop, don't get into a conversation if you can help it (remember rule 1). Don't stare at anyone and just keep moving until you are far away or safe at home.

Notation: Unfortunately some of us LIVE in these places. Hopefully home is safe for you.

Rule #5: Have alternative habits. As a general rule, autistic people (including me) are serious creatures of habit. Breaking habits and changing routines is not easy for us. I suggest we practice not thinking of it as breaking our routine, rather adding an alternative routine to protect ourselves. Sometimes, something bad will happen even on the safest street and you will have to alter your route. There could be a terrible accident, a fire, or even a police standoff. These are all  things that may make you change route. Having back up routines can keep you out of trouble. Your favorite grocery store is on fire? You will have to be ready to go to a different one. So have that plan already in place. When I was on the streets, I had to have several alternate routes I could walk to avoid people who were trouble. I got used to shifting quickly. You shouldn't have to do that with more than one or two back up plans. Just don't think of them as broken routines. They are shifted routines that are in case of emergency.

By following these rules to the best of your ability, you can avoid dangerous situations or even being involved with police while keeping yourself safe.

But what if you are trying to teach your child with autism how to be safe? I'll cover that in my next installment.