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Rakes, Melons, and:
Thursday, October 9, 2003  permanent URL for this entry

The Internet is really really great
for porn
I've got a fast connection so I don't have to wait
for porn
There's always some new site
for porn
I browse all day and night
for porn
It's like I'm surfing at the speed of light
for porn!

That's Kate Monster and Trekki Monster, from the Original Cast Recording of Avenue Q, a very funny "Sesame Street for grownups" musical that I haven't seen, but that I downloaded from the iTunes Music Store (which really needs to get real URLs that I can point at, rather than just those odd proprietary things they've got) this evening, having heard a story about it on NPR on the radio on the way home.

(The shock of how all this stuff works is slowly starting to wear off.)

Plaintiff and Proposed Class Representative experienced unauthorized access, use and theft use of her personal data and social security number, experiencing damage to financial and bank account data, information and financial holdings, which plaintiff alleges was due to the failure of Microsoft to provide adequate security, and the failure to provide plaintiff with adequate notice of the vulnerability of online data and information transmitted through Microsoft operating systems.

More on the theme of telling the real from the false, the important from the un. How important is The Digital Media Manifesto? How do you know?

(On a similar question from the other day, a reader assures us that "That Zero Ontology stuff is utter crap. The guy doesn't even understand basic physics & math." So that's one we can push farther down the "to read sometime" list.)

Why you think the Net was born?
porn, porn porn!

Another reader kindly points out

Ooh, bad HTML tag, everything's gone bold!

So I fixed that (caught again by the fact that Opera turns off funny fonts at the ends of paragraphs, and IE doesn't).

Another reader (several readers, in fact, several times a week) points out:

iris chacon

Another reader (well, passerby) shows real conviction that that must be a search box:

Thanks for the Memories
Thanks for the Memories mp3

We're glad to be able to help this reader:


who we hope has already noticed that this week's gears have been replaced by something warmer and softer and more human.

Religions behaving badly:

The Catholic Church is telling people in countries stricken by Aids not to use condoms because they have tiny holes in them through which the HIV virus can pass - potentially exposing thousands of people to risk.

(Remember Scalia's Law: death is no big deal.)

More security geek links!

A study into p2p apps on government systems has revealed glaring security holes.

When a staff group experimented with Kazaa's Find More from Same User feature, among other 'personal' files they found:

  • Military information on chemical warfare
  • Correspondence from the office of a state senator to constituents
  • Internal correspondence on state political organization
  • Sensitive business correspondence, including memos on board of directors decision making>
  • Navy medical records

Lest I be accused of always picking on Wintel systems, here's Apple's page of security updates. (Of course if Microsoft had a page that went back that far in time, it'd take a little longer to load, heh heh heh.)

Security experts are blaming known but unpatched vulnerabilities in Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer for the theft and distribution of the source code for a much anticipated new video game.


Dan Geer, the former chief technology officer at @stake Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., was fired last week as a result of his participation in an independent study of the security implications of Microsoft Corp.'s monopoly hold on the software industry

And finally

A lovesick hacker brought chaos to America's busiest seaport after launching a computer attack on an internet chatroom user.

That last one has a real cyberpunk feel to it.

"Hey, man, you just brought down the Port of Houston!"

"Yeah, oops. But sure DoS'd that lamer in #flameamerica good."


stop staring and go donate.

Wednesday, October 8, 2003  permanent URL for this entry

And speaking of NKD WMN, do go visit the Boobiethon; an unutterably lovely (not to mention funny) campaign for a very worthy cause.

Bush quote o' the week:

"Free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction."

Um, uh, um, uh, George, you see, um, but, well...

What can it possibly mean that those words got into an official speech given by the official President? Was he ad-libbing? Did he just misspeak? But it fits perfectly in with the structure of the surrounding words; it really sounds like the speechwriter wrote that, and the speechvetters okayed it.

I mean, I know it's more important that things sound good than that they be true, but this? Either he's saying that the United States of America isn't a free nation, or he's not saying anything at all.

What can it possibly mean?

Maybe our nukes don't count as weapons of mass destruction?

Ahnie facts: the Governator is from Austria (Austria, Austria, Austria). You don't hear that much about Austria; presumably they aren't especially troubled. Rumsfeld has gotten mad at them, but that's hardly distinctive. They're a member of the EU and the Euro, but not of NATO (having written neutrality into their Constitution, apparently, as part of getting the Soviets out after World War II).

And they're pretty excited about this whole Governor thing.

Tuesday, October 7, 2003  permanent URL for this entry

So I did a doubletake this morning walking past the TV, which was all black except for some elegant white letters saying


Can't get much more blatant than that, eh? Next I suppose we'll have the "CADILLAC RGSM", or perhaps


Although of course that would only appeal to the gynophile demographic.

Now it's NGSCB! "Bad publicity, clashes trigger MS Palladium name change". (Note that "Next Generation Secure Computing Base" suggests that there's a current generation secure computing base. Would that it were so!)

More on electronic voting issues: Rebecca Mercuri's Statement on Electronic Voting (as well as having a way-cool last name, she's apparently someone who's thought about how to modernize voting machines without courting fraud). She links to this very amusing ad parody, and to more serious stuff:

It is essential, therefore, that voters be able to create a physical or paper ballot that is deposited at the polling place when their vote is cast. This ballot, which can be scanned in or hand-counted since it is human-readable, would be used to verify any machine-generated tallies produced from electronic (DRE) voting systems. Only in this way can the voters be assured that their ballot will be available for an independent recount.

Good idea, eh?

Some security-geek links: "Remote timing attacks are practical". Which is to say, you can attack exploit tiny differences in algorithm speed that depend on (say) how many bits of an encryption key you had right, even across a network (in at least some cases). This is surprising and somewhat disheartening.

Slightly over-the-top but (or perhaps "and therefore") fun to read review by Fred Cohen of a book about writing secure code by some Microsofties:

If I were the person at Microsoft responsible for allowing books to be released I would not have approved the book by Michael Howard and David LeBlanc. But the difference between what I think such books should address and what Microsoft thinks such books should include is as telling as anything else about the book. In essence, this is a book about how Microsoft has screwed up security in their programming practices over the years and how they are trying to fix it. While I have high praise for the efforts of the authors to make these changes at Microsoft, the outcomes, approaches, and attitudes demonstrated in the book lead me to have low expectations about the future of Microsoft in producing more secure systems.

Which leads me to today's Language Rant: on "belie". Jeez, peeeee-pul! This is abused nearly as much as "begs the question".

"Belie" doesn't mean "imply" or "reveal" or "suggest". It means belie: to give a false impression of, to show something to be false, to disguise.

How hard is that?

"We have hundreds and thousands of letters sent to either God or Jesus Christ and for some unknown reason they all come to Jerusalem," said Yitzhak Rabihiya, a postal spokesman.

Addressing (among other things) the musical question "What two-word phrase is commonly followed by either 'a breadbox' or 'Jesus'?", our readers respond to "Bigger than...":

a breadb\\\\\\ no forget it
Jesus (obviously)
a breadbox filled with little fishes
the pile of laundry on my diningroom table
the cirrostratus clouds of magellan
a hideous pulsating tendril
my one eyed trowser snake
a Breadbox?
a bread box
the Beatles?
yours, at any rate.

Ah, thank you; wondered where I'd left that.

One or more readers have a run-in with the decor:

Those damned devil gears

By the power of god on high I command these demon gears excosized

The gears are gone! FREEDOM!!!!!!

Ms. Ciccione does seem to have displaced the gears on last week's page, but I'm afraid that at least at the moment they've reappeared on this week's.

if you didn't start it, does that meant that it's all was been burning ?

Since the world's been turning, apparently.

an object not made of cheese is clearly not my macaroni and broccoli sandwich. my head hurts. why can't my happy meal just be there for me when i want it

(This reader gets around.)

Orbst I like you so much - tell me more of Qwert shmarble

Shucks! We like you, too. ("orbst" is who I often am on MUDs, on GNE, u.s.w.). There's not much else to tell about qwert shmarble (except that it used to have no hits on Google, and now it has some.) People keep urging me to order one, but I dunno.

Last night I dreamed that I babysat your kids (which is pretty improbable since I was always a lousy babysitter, but I seemed to be doing okay in the dream). I stayed overnight at your house - it was a very nice house - and didn't really see the kids much at all since they were asleep most of the time. I got to bring my cat along with me, which I really appreciated. And then you and your wife came home and introduced me to some of your friends and everyone was happy, even if I was self-conscious about being inappropriately dressed. I usually am. Thanks for your hospitality!

Quite welcome! Glad you liked the house and the company. In waking life, I think we used babysitters a total of twice (or three times?) while the kids were growing up. Does this mean we don't get out much? Yes, it does.

Does it seem odd to you that China is about to (well, hopefully within the month) join the nations that have put men into space and yet the news coverage of it is... non-existant. Maybe it's different over in the states, but ... well, I would have at least thought there'd be something...

There is coverage if you actively look, but it's true it isn't getting nearly the headlines that, say, Ahnold is. (Is he Governor yet, by the way? I suppose I should look and see.)

Keep those cards and letters coming, and we'll be back next time!

Monday, October 6, 2003  permanent URL for this entry

Ah, (yawn, stretch), Good Morning! How are you?

Lots more atom-activity over the weekend. Perhaps inspired into action by my successful campaign against the Giant Killer Mutant Vines from Mars last weekend, I cleaned out the part of the back room (dining room, roughly) floor occupied by my enormous teetering piles of books and magazines, sorted the magazines into piles by what they were, hauled them up to the upstairs library and sorted all the piles of magazines up there, went out to Office Max and bought some Banker's Boxes (bankers must read lots of magazines) and put the magazines into them and wrote the names of the magazines on the outside and piled them up neatly, went to Office Max again and bought three bookcases ("Assembles in minutes with no tools"), put them together (in minutes, with help from M and a small hammer, which I would think sort of counts as a tool), installed two of them in the back room and one up in the library, put lots of books in them, and woo woo!

There are now several square feet of shining exposed tile floor, with tasteful bookcases full of books, where there used to be chaos. If I ever want to read (or reread) any of those five year old Scientific Americans and so on it'll be a bit more work, but I figure that that's not a real real high-probability event, at least not until the kids are off to college.

I'm slogging through "Vacuum Diagrams", but it's only gotten worse since I last mentioned it. Now it's like the year 101,000 or 4,000,000 or something, and apparently the only interesting thing that's happened to humanity is that we can fly really fast in spaceships, and we've encountered lots of aliens who either wouldn't talk to us, or didn't have anything very interesting to say. Sheesh!

In the year 3500 people were flying around in little personal short-range spacecraft called "flitters". Guess what they travel around in a hundred thousand years later? That's right!

I mean, it's certainly Real Hard to tell a convincing story about how human culture and society are going to change over the next hundred years, let alone 100,000. But just ignoring the issue doesn't seem like a really productive approach. Or at least the stories that Baxter's produced here by ignoring the issue have not grabbed my interest.

Three from NTK:

A trio of very funny webcams (another one of my ideas stolen by telepaths; I was going to get around to this, really I was!);

A resumé:

My duties involve stopping lone marines from clearing out the invading forces of evil from the newly-captured slipgate complex. Although I mostly work alone, I am responsible for a team of zombies and undead canines who work together as a loose co-operative. This requires personnel management and organisational skills as deadlines have to be met and all areas of the base kept secure from intruders at all times.

And a significant letter:

In addition, our review of the .com and .net registry agreements between ICANN and VeriSign leads us to the conclusion that VeriSign's unilateral and unannounced changes to the operation of the .com and .net Top Level Domains are not consistent with material provisions of both agreements. These inconsistencies include violation of the Code of Conduct and equal access provisions, failure to comply with the obligation to act as a neutral registry service provider, failure to comply with the Registry Registrar Protocol, failure to comply with domain registration provisions, and provision of an unauthorized Registry Service. These inconsistencies with VeriSign's obligations under the .com and .net registry agreements are additional reasons why the changes in question must be suspended pending further evaluation and discussion between ICANN and VeriSign.

From somewhere, a free PDF of Spooner's "Constitution of No Authority", a famous anarchist (roughly) document that I've always meant to read, but never have. Now maybe I will!

A spammer writes:

This is proof that your wonderful spectacles indicated my minister's character with perfect truth Come back, Eureka! she called, in distress, you'll certainly be killed

And finally News from the World of Sport:


Noticed that you had written about our site, The World Rock Paper Scissors Society (www.worldrps.com) on your blog before and thought you may be interested in the upcoming 2003 Rock Paper Scissors International World Championships taking place on October 25th.

Couple notes about the Championships:

- We have built a new Championship specific site at www.rpschamps.com
- We expect to have about 1000 of the World's best players competing this year and have athletes registered from the UK, 6 US States and Canada.
- Winner will receive $5000.00 (CDN) and more importantly will be able to claim the title of RPS Champion of the World (2nd place $1500.00, 3rd $500)
- We have some various video clips in Quicktime format that can be Viewed here: http://www.rpschamps.com/videos.html

Graham Walker World RPS Society

Pretty exciting stuff! I'm still primarily a Tic Tac Toe fan myself, but it's always good to see other emerging sports getting the recognition they deserve also; these folks have clearly put alot of hard work and devotion into RPS, and now it's paying off...


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