Tuesday, June 23, 2009

DMTF Enters Cloud Computing


The DMTF Standards Incubation Process: Promoting Open Collaboration throughout the Standard Lifecycle

By Josh Cohen, Vice Chairman of the Board and Process Committee Chair

With the launch of the Open Cloud Standards Incubator in late April, DMTF initiated its first effort using the standards incubation process. DMTF incubators are designed to enable members to work together to produce informational specifications that can later be submitted for further standards development.


Message from the Chairman: Entering the Cloud

By: Mike Baskey, Chairman of the Board

On April 27, 2009, DMTF announced the formation of the Open Cloud Standards Incubator, which will focus on management of private and hybrid clouds. This is a significant development for DMTF. First, this is the first time DMTF has invoked the Standards Incubation process, providing another means of encouraging vendor collaboration in a more public and open way. This news also marks the entry of DMTF into an exciting new arena that is relevant to both our members

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why attack Gays? Killer: They are easy targets

miss gay arkansas kitchen  body

UPDATE:  Jerry Swinford, the killer discussed in this post, is eligible for parole in 2009.  That’s this year.  If he’s lucky, he’ll be out on the streets again soon.

On April 29, 2009, during a debate on the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill, North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx displays her ignorance of the facts.  The bill passed, however, there are still folks who refuse to accept the facts. 

As quoted from Pam’s House Blend, check it out to see the video of Rep. Foxx’s statement:

Rep. Foxx: "The bill was named after a very unfortunate incident that happened, where a young man was killed, but we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of robbery. It wasn't because he was gay. The bill was named for him, the hate crimes bill was named for him, but it's, it's really a hoax, that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills."[House Floor Speech, 4/29/09]swinford face closeup

The sad fact is that Gays are targeted because they are gay.  This is what a hate crime is.   Matthew Shepard is just one example, but there are many others.  Meet Jerry Swinford. 

Jerry Swinford and a friend met Chris Miller aka Miss Gay Arkansas, and Joe Fredericks at a park where gay men hang out.  After joining them at their house, Swinford and friend robbed and killed Chris Miller and wounded Joe Fredericks after a gay advance was made. Sound familiar? Listen for yourself as killer Jerry Swinford discusses how he came to target 2 gay men.

Was this just a random robbery?  Was there some other motive or reason for picking Chris and Joe?  Have a look at, in the killer’s own words, where his motivations come from. 

Many people believe that there’s no good reason for Hate Crimes legislation, that people aren’t really targeted because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, or religion.  This is simply not true.  Our culture and society has been stained by the influence of religious extremists and heterosupremacists.  Some folks simply cannot feel good about themselves unless they can place someone else below them in the hierarchy of society.  It is them who are destroying our society.

Please take a stand, contact your elected officials in support of any hate crimes legislation.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Storm Gathers in Washington State

No, No, its not a rainstorm.  Like that’s something worth blogging about, Ha Ha.  It’s also not our women’s basketball team, “The Storm.”  This is a much worse kind of storm.

On April 15, 2009, the WA state legislature passed SB5688, the  DP expansion bill.  The bill expands the Domestic Partner benefits to be on par with Marriage.    The bill is currently awaiting the signature of the governor.

This week, on April 22 2009, The Stranger, Seattle’s only newspaper, published “Parasite Pastor”  on the emerging effort to bring the question of repealing the these benefits to the ballot box.  The new effort is being coordinated by the Faith and Freedom Network

randall fixed The champion of this effort is Gary Randall (closet-case, right), their president.  Gary is a Christian talk show radio host, ordained minister,  and former Youth Pastor, giggle. 

Oh Jeez, isn’t this a familiar story.  Let me just take a shot in the dark here.  I see a man who in previous days was, let’s say, a little too chummy with “the boys”.  Faced with the self-hatred inducing disapproval of the church, even in his own teachings, I’m guessing, he’s a closet case.  Rather than accept what he is, he’s expressing his own self-hatred by doing his part to keep the gays down. I’m seeing shades of former Florida State Representative Bob Allen.  Remember him? Closeted self-hating closet case cracks down on gay rights, gets strung up by own petard on a park bathroom. *rolls eyes*, I’ll need to look in to this more.  Perhaps Lane Hudson can find us some juicy IM chat logs from Randall.


Coming back to rainy Washington, this initiative is apparently already raising money and will start gathering signatures once Kick-Ass-Governor Christine Gregoire (right), signs the new DP bill.  You’ll notice I haven’t yet used words like “Initiative”, “Proposition”, “Amendment”, or “Referendum”.  That’s because as of yet, its not yet clear which one it will be.

In Washington state, we spend most of our time passive aggressively bitching about the rain, smugly looking down our noses at California, arguing over the Monorail year after year and then doing nothing about it, and drinking lots of snooty over-caffeinated coffee, er, Espresso.  We’re very, very uptight.  So, just like everything else here in Seattle, our system for “Power to the People!” i.e., taking things to the ballot box, is over engineered and  ridiculously complex.  There’s actually 3 options here, as explained to me:

  1. A Referendum to repeal the passed-currently-awaiting-governors-signature domestic partner expansion bill.
  2. An Initiative to repeal ALL domestic partner benefits in Washington state law.
  3. A Legislative Initiative to direct the legislature to do so.

Viva La Revolution! Just fill out one of these forms…


This referendum takes the decisions of the executive and legislative branches to the ballot box. The No on Prop 8 people cite wrong-way ballots as a problem due to the “No” vote required to keep gay marriage.  In Washington, it will be the reverse.  This would put the following question to the people:

“Do you want to keep the new DP bill that both houses in the legislature passed and the governor signed?  Yes or No.”

So, we’ve got a “Yes campaign”.  You’ll need to vote Yes on it.  So, even though we’re fighting the initiative or referendum, you must vote YES on it.  I suspect we’ll have our own wrong-way problem. 

The plus side is we can say “Yes!  I approve of equality for all!”, “Yes to Gay Marriage”  “Yes, Gay Marriages for everyone, whether you like it or not!!!”

The Referendum would require gathering about 90k signatures within 90 days after the legislative session ends. 

Initiative to kill DP

The first kind of initiative that can be created is one to enact a repeal of ALL DP benefits.  This would invalidate DP benefits in all Washington laws.    The impact to LGBT couples would be disastrous.  Not to mention the complexity of dealing with existing DPs and how employers would be required to deal with this. This would be a huge step backward.

This would require approximately 240 thousand signatures before 90 days after the legislative session ends.

Legislative Initiative

The third option, which frankly I am still researching, is a longer term plan to let the people tell the legislature what to do.  For example, they might pass an initiative to direct the legislature to pass a law to kill gay people, you never know with this crowd.  However, assuming that they just kill DP benefits, the Legislative Initiative would command the legislature to do their dirty work, while the plain Initiative would do it directly. 

This option would not be on the ballot until 2010.   I’m still not clear on what happens if the legislature does not have the votes to pass it.  I’ll report more on exactly how this works soon. 

Starting Early

We’re starting to get the wheels rolling on defeating this attempt at bigotry and we’ll need as much support as we can get.  Hopefully we can have a successful “Decline to Sign” campaign and it will never reach the ballot.  We’re also tracking them to see if this is a war-chest building effort for future tyranny.

One thing we learned from California, is that complacency and starting late can kill us.  So, if you have friends or family in Washington state, start now, give them a ring, share your story with them, and tell them that this is important to you. 

This is stake in the ground, lets learn how to win these battles!    Let’s use the lessons learned from Prop 8 and improve our game*.

* Hopefully someone from the No on Prop 8 tech team will put drive and share the results report of a post mortem report like the campaign leadership did.  I’m surprised, I would have expected the reverse.  *nudge* *nudge*

Stay tuned! Find out what happens next in the next episode…

PS: Don’t forget to check out Equal Rights Washington.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Columbia: what exactly happened?



Just before the new year started, NASA released the Columbia Crew Survival Investigation Report.  In the flurry of news around Obama’s upcoming inauguration (YEAH!!), this was buried.  This is a more detailed report on the loss of Space Shuttle Columbia which expands on their original report shortly after the disaster.  The original report’s conclusions were that a piece of insulating foam fell off the external fuel tank.  This piece of foam, about the size of a briefcase, collided with the leading edge of the left wing, creating a hole.  During reentry, this hole allowed hot gases to enter the wing and led to the eventual breakup of the Orbiter. 

While this overview is now well known, the Columbia Crew Survival Investigation Report presents a much more detailed analysis of the step by step failure of Columbia.  It also outlines the likely fate of the crew.  This post is a summary of the 400 page report.

shuttle body parts Figure 1

Before diving in, lets cover some basics about the Orbiter.  Structurally, the Orbiter has 3 main parts. The forebody, the midbody, and the aftbody.  The forebody is made up of an outer fuselage which contains the crew module, which is suspended within it by various braces and connections to the midbody.  The midbody is essentially the payload bay and payload bay doors.  Aft of the midbody is connected to the obviously named aftbody.  The aftbody contains the Space Shuttle Main Engines.

Both the forebody and the aft body also contain small thrusters.  These small rocket engines, called Reaction Control Systems, or RCS jets, are used for for in-space maneuvering.  These engines are located in the RCS pods in front of the crew module in the forebody, and in the bulges on both sides of the tail where it connects to the body of the orbiter.

When the orbiter is in the earth’s atmosphere, during launch, reentry and landing, it uses airplane-like aerodynamic controls.  On the trailing edge of the wings are elevons, which perform similar functions as the combination of ailerons and spoilers on a normal airplane.  Similarly, the trailing edge of the tail or vertical stabilizer has a rudder.  These surfaces are controlled via a hydraulics system.


Initial contact with the atmosphere 13:44:06

Entry Interface (EI) is the beginning of the transition between space and the atmosphere, where both aerodynamic surfaces and RCS jets can control the shuttle.  Damage on left wing increases as hot gases grow the hole and decrease structural integrity of the wing.  Drag created by this damage causes the shuttle to twist (yaw) to the left of the direction of travel.   Initially, at least, the shuttle’s hydraulic system was able to compensate for the drag and keep the shuttle within the limits of its reentry path.

shuttle yaw

Figure 2

As time goes on, the drag continues to increase, as the hot gases begin to widen the hole in the left wing.  As a result, the left wing starts shedding debris and the condition gets worse.  The combination of the hydraulic systems and the RCS jets are able to keep the shuttle from veering outside the limits of its flight attitude. 

Loss of Control 13:59:37

The hot gases flowing into the wing eventually destroy the hydraulic systems which power the aerodynamic flight surfaces.  Unfortunately, there is not adequate redundancy in the system and the shuttle loses all hydraulic power.  As a result all of the RCS jets are firing at maximum, but it is not enough.  To make matters worse, when the hydraulic system fails, the control surfaces, now moving freely, gravitate to a nose-up position.  The shuttle pitches up, as well as continues increase its yaw to the left.  The simulated motion of the shuttle is shown in the figure below.

shuttle spin

Upon recovery of the cockpit control panels, the switch positions were set in a way that indicated that the crew was aware of the hydraulic failure and was attempting restart procedures for the system.

The flow of hot gas flow generated by the friction of the atmosphere is still along the direction of travel, but the shuttle is now in a flat spin.    The left wing continues to deteriorate. Inside the shuttle, the spin increases the G forces beyond anything seen in previous shuttle flights. This creates a situation where the gas flow is no longer only impacting the heat protected surfaces of the shuttle.   Instead the gas flow travels along the right side and up over the payload doors, which is now exposed due to the yaw and pitch deviations.  The payload doors are not heat shielded and begin to heat up.

Payload door failure

At 14:00:18, Mission Control receives the last frame of telemetry data.  At this point, the data contains data from the payload door sensors indicating that they were still intact.  During ground recovery of the shuttle debris field, the earliest parts of the shuttle found in significant amounts are from the left wing, and the payload bay doors.  This means that they were the first to fail, as significant debris from other parts of the shuttle were not found until further along in the debris field. 

After this point, with no more telemetry data, the conclusions of the report are determined by analysis of video footage, position of debris along the trail of debris from west to east, calculated paths of descent, and the condition of the parts found.

Orbiter Breakup

Once the payload doors had failed, the inside of the payload bay was exposed to the gas flow.  The most important area of exposure was the connection between the right rear of the forebody and the payload bay sidewall. This connection is made by a large beam called an X-link, because its a link along the X axis.  When this X-link was found in the debris, it was damaged in a way that showed that had failed to connect the forebody and the payload bay.  The figure below shows where the failure happened.

gas flow over X link

Separation of the Forebody

The combination of the G forces of the spin, the lack of structural stability provided by the payload doors, combined with the heating and weakening of the X-Link, cause the link to fail.  The forebody, including the crew module separated from the rest of the shuttle.  At this point, all power and lighting inside the crew module was lost.

Earlier, I mentioned that the crew module is suspended inside the outer fuselage of the forebody by various supports as well as the X-link.  As this separation occurred, without the support of the X-Links, the crew module became free to move within the fuselage.  It slid forward and down inside the fuselage.  At the bottom of the crew module pressure hull, there are storage compartments with access panels accessible within the crew module.  These storage compartments occupy the space between the bottom of the crew module and the outer fuselage. 

shuttle CM depressurization

Crew Module Depressurization

The diagram above, shows storage compartment “Vol E” impacting the crew module supports and fuselage wall.  During debris recovery, the contents of this compartment were found earlier along the trail than any other crew module debris.  The contents of the compartment were NASA and shuttle patches.  This supports the conclusion that the crushing of this compartment caused the depressurization of crew module. 

Crew Unconsciousness

The last video frame from within the shuttle showed that the crew did not have their pressure visors down and some did not have their gloves attached to their pressure suits.  Both of these would be required for the pressure suits to seal and protect them from the depressurization.  When the parts of the suites and helmets were recovered, analysis concluded that the visors had not been lowered and some gloves were not attached.  The depressurization happened so rapidly that the crew did not have time to perform these steps and activate their pressure suits before they became unconscious.

Crew Deathcrew patch

Once the crew was unconscious, they no longer braced themselves and their movement was constrained only by their seat restraint systems. The restraint systems lower body straps keep the legs and waist attached vertically to the seat along the Y axis.  The upper body straps are intended to keep the back restrained to the seatback along the X axis. These upper straps are connected to an inertial reel locking system.  This device operates similarly to the seatbelt locking mechanism in your car.  When the X axis acceleration exceeds a set limit, the reel with lock.  If you slam on the brakes in your car, you’ll experience a similar lock. 

Upon recovery and analysis of the inertial reel lock mechanisms, it was found that they had not locked and remained open during the accident.  This failure to lock as expected cause the crew’s upper bodies to be unrestrained such that they could move left to right and forward and back while their lower bodies remained restrained to the seat.  With the extreme forces produce by the spinning and falling of the crew module, this combination resulted in severe internal blunt force trauma injuries to the crew.  It is estimated that while the crew was incapacitated and unconscious due to the decompression, it is likely that they continued to have circulatory activity until these injuries resulted in death.


Why did the seatbelt locking mechanism fail?

It turns out that this failure is, unfortunately, “by design”.  The locking mechanisms performed as they were designed.  These seats are modified military helicopter seats. The locking mechanism will lock if the X axis force exceeds a limit.  However, due to the nature of the breakup and rolling of the crew module, the fatal forces were in the Y and Z axes.  What’s heartbreaking is that this flaw was identified by the military and recent military craft were fitted with new seats to avoid this.  However, these changes were made after the construction of the shuttles and apparently NASA didn’t get the memo.

Why didn't the crew have their pressure suits activated during reentry, especially once problems arose?

The shuttle was originally designed as a “shirt-sleeve” environment much like an airplane.  The shuttle control panels and switches were designed for the size of naked fingers.  It was only after the Challenger accident that the crews began wearing pressure suits during launch and reentry.  With the gloves on, it was difficult and cumbersome to operate these controls.  As a result, many crews kept their gloves off in order to better operate the controls.

Shuttle crew training focuses their attention on troubleshooting and problem solving.  It appears that the crew underestimated the gravity of the situation and was consumed with troubleshooting what appeared to be non-critical problems.  As a result, they never switched from problem solving mode into survival mode.

I would like to read this report, where can I find it?

The list of recent NASA reports can be found at:


The URL for the Columbia Crew Survival Report is:


Monday, February 2, 2009

CC09: Ballot Initiatives and Corporate Support. HRC’s CEI is too easy.

NGLTF Creating Change session on Corporate Ballot Initiative Support

One of the sessions I went to at Creating Change last week was about increasing corporate support for LGBT Ballot Initiatives.  I am a corporate minion and on the board of my company’s LGBT employee group, aka Employee Resource Group (ERG).  I was very curious to see what the panel had to say.  I’d previously attempted to get our company to take a position on CA Prop 8, unfortunately to no avail.  I was looking for tactics or data that would help me make the case to my management.  Ideally, i was hoping for pre-created business cases for how these rights positively impact our bottom line.  I was disappointed.

The session focused itself on “Ballot Initiatives”  however, I didn't hear anything that was specific to Ballot Initiatives that could not apply just as well to any corporation supporting any type of LGBT rights enhancement.  Ballot Initiatives are one, but legislative bills are another.

Overall the session gave a lot of data on the historical trend of increasing corporate support and a somewhat rudimentary taxonomy of the internal groups within a company that should be engaged in order to succeed.  If you haven’t been to Out and Equal, or this is your first time approaching a local corporation for their support, this was a good primer.

Aside from this, there wasn’t much distinction between seeking money and seeking a public endorsement, which is significant.  Money can be given quietly or indirectly.  A public statement is just that; public.  The former is really a cost analysis question, where as the other is a moral one.  Achieving these require different tactics and are dependent on different groups of people buying in.

Either way, with the ongoing recession, we should be realistic about what we can get money-wise.

The HRC factor

Lately the No on Prop8 campaign has been hoarding all the scrutiny and criticism.  That’s just unfair and wrong!  Let’s share some with our good friends at the HRC.

The most interesting thing I heard that might impact companies’ actions around being publicly supportive of LGBT rights legislation or ballot initiatives came not as a part of the presentation, but what seemed to be a fit of exasperation.

It is too easy to achieve a perfect “100” score on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI). I don’t mean to diminish the tremendous value of the criteria that a corporation must meet in order to score that high.  They are important, very important.

If we really believe that corporate support for the advancement of our rights is critical; If we really want to raise the bar on what we expect from employers of gay people, then we need to stop rewarding them for failing to do so.  We need to raise the bar of what’s required to achieve a score of 100.

For simplicity, lets work with 2 points for now. A company should only be able to earn these points if they can prove that they supported a state (1 point) and national (1 point) policy for the advancement of LGBT rights.'

If a company refuses to take an LGBT positive position on such a policy in their state, or nation, they lose these points.

This would likely mean that most companies that meet today’s bar for 100, would be at 98.

If the number “100” is too attractive to the marketroids and they afraid of insulting otherwise LGBT friendly companies, perhaps the max score should be 102.  Space shuttle engines can provide thrust greater than 100%, why can’t the CEI?  These could be bonus points.

Perhaps companies that do these courageous acts could get discounts on sponsorships of our events or formal dinners.

I know our legal, PR and recruiting folks pay attention to the CEI score.  So do progressive potential employees.   I’m not saying that making such a change will automagically cause all companies to come out for us.  However, pushing companies to take these positions is herding cats, uphill.  Making such a change will make that hill a bit less steep.  That may just be what we, as ERG leaders, need to push it over the top.

The key is that we’re not using our carrot and stick very well here. We need incentives for companies to act. There needs to be a few extra points up there that can only be earned by companies that can prove that they took a stance in support of actual legislation for the advancement of LGBT rights. 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Support the CA Supreme Court

While we’re focusing on JTI and the Courage protest, we should also shed some light on legal challenge and the controversy that could lead to.

A friend and I have been watching the discussion that’s ensued since the election and there is an interesting concern emerging regarding what could happen to our allies on the California supreme court if they stand with us.

As California’s court is composed of elected justices, their ability to stand on principle is significantly more constrained than the US Supreme Court.  Given that a decision in our favor would be viewed by our opponents as overriding the will of the people, our allies could very well face re-election problems at the ballot box.   An angry movement of bigotry could not only remove our rights, but replace the justices with less friendly socially conservative ones.

As it happens right now, the YES on 8 bullhorn is preemptively stoking anger at the judiciary in California. 

Note this quote from the 11/12 YES on 8 Mailer:

Although past court decisions seem to favor our case, we cannot trust the same judicial system that overturned Proposition 22 to protect our Election Day decision.

We must remain active and hold our government officials accountable. This battle is far from over. Join us as we continue to push forward in our defense of marriage!

I think the reality is that when they say "we cannot trust the same judicial system..." that's a coded threat to the state supreme court.  If they the court reverses the bigotry of Prop 8, they will suffer.

This is not the first time this has happened.  Take Rose Bird, for example.  She was the first female justice on the CA supreme court, also the Chief Justice.  In 1986, after 10 years on the bench as a progressive ally, she was removed by a revenge effort by conservatives.

From her Wikipedia Page:

Rose Elizabeth Bird (November 2, 1936–December 4, 1999) served for 10 years as the 25th Chief Justice (and first female Justice & only female Chief Justice) of the California Supreme Court until removed from that office by the voters. Bird was targeted by well-funded conservative and pro death penalty groups whose withering attacks painted her as a soft-on-crime liberal. After being outspent two to one, she lost her reconfirmation bid and left office in 1987.


So, we must stand up for our progressive allies on the California court.  They stood up for us earlier this year when they ruled, despite the state voters having approved prop 22, that same sex marriage is a right that we have.  Now, they will likely face a pitched battle to either bow to our enemies or face removal.

For bloggers, we need to get this message out in the short term.  This dovetails well with the protests this weekend.   There have been calls to ensure that these protests are Americans expressing their right to equality, a founding principle.  People are suggesting bringing American flags as well as rainbow flags. 

If you can, please repeat this message and encourage protesters to show their support for the California supreme court.  They’ve shown their support for us, now we need to support them!

If you’re protesting yourself, and can carry a sign, consider one supporting the court.

A quick brainstorm in my head came up with:

  • “Defend our Rights, Defend the Court”
  • "I (heart) the judicial system"
  • “activist judges eliminate rights. support a supreme court that preserves them!”

Anyone have any other clever ideas?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

My WA State Democratic Caucus experience

Last week I went to the Washington state democratic caucus here on Capitol Hill.  My neighborhood is definitely quite liberal and very, very gay.  In fact, I think it is so liberal, that you would be more likely to get beaten for wearing a McCain sticker than a big sign that said "I'm a bit fat homo!".

I have to say, I was disappointed with the caucus experience.  It is amazing that the system actually works.  The people assigned the "chairmanship", if you want to call it that, of a given precinct, are laypersons.  The folks running mine, precinct #2541, had never done this before.  In order to keep things running as smoothly as possible, the leaders had given out step by step process documents, as well as worksheets for the math steps required to calculate the results. 

caucus 011

The most annoying part of this was that they had stationed a bunch of precincts in what is basically a cafeteria at the local community college, Seattle Central Community College.  What this meant was that you had 4-5 groups of 60 people crowded around in separate circles trying to have discussions and give speeches.  This really did not work.  It was really hard to hear anything going on with all the distractions from the nearby precincts.  Our speakers were regularly drowned out by applause and cheering from other groups.  I would say that other groups suffered the same interference from us, but our precinct seemed to be low on the energy side.
caucus 008

Overall, people were for Obama vs Clinton by a factor of 4:1.  Our precinct elected 4 Obama delegates and 1 Clinton delegate.  Clinton hung on by a thread.  If a single uncommitted voter had switched to Obama, she would have received NO delegates.  This is definitely Obama country.

Our Obama Delegates:

caucus 027

Me standing with our lone Hillary delgate:

caucus 024

The math worksheet with our final results:

caucus 019 - Copy caucus 022 - Copy F

Finally a video of my experience.  If you are interested in what it was actually like and want to hear the kinds of speeches people made to "sway" the participants, check this out: