The Anti-Cockblock Argument

February 27th, 2008

Senator Obama has class, or at least he tries not to cockblock.

Comcast Blocks Public Debate

February 27th, 2008

Comcast blocks public debate.

The Flintstones Are Not a Valid Source

February 27th, 2008

Creationist science fairs?


February 25th, 2008

Photoshop’s first icon.

It All Makes Sense

February 25th, 2008

What atheists are really like: a friendly reminder to mainstream believers.

Why is it Always Florida?

February 23rd, 2008

Why gay marriage matters.

Yin! Yang!

February 23rd, 2008

Yin and Yang – another great flash game.

SXSW + Torrentz

February 23rd, 2008

Music from this years SXSW available as a torrent.

I <3 Movie Trailers

February 23rd, 2008

Be Kind Rewind gets the Be Kind Rewind treatment. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull learns to fit in with its siblings.

Primer is Crazy

February 23rd, 2008

A timeline for the movie Primer. A timeline for Back to the Future. A timeline for The Terminator. Time travel is serious business.

McCain McCain McCain…

February 23rd, 2008

Senator McCain talks about President Putin, you know, of Germany. I’m sure he misspoke……

The Internet is Dumb

February 22nd, 2008

This image from a recent Scientology protest is amusing.

Books: The Forever War

February 22nd, 2008

stormtrooper.jpgI finished a book!

The Forever War is one of those military sci-fi books I read so much yet am too embarrassed to discuss with my real friends. Overall I would give it a 7/10, enjoyable but nothing too special. The author knows his physics, especially general relativity, which provides most of the interesting concepts behind this. He also served in the Army during Vietnam and it shows as the main character is painfully ostracized from society.

But for me the book really excels when it discusses the time-dilation effects of an interstellar war. The first veterans arrive back on Earth after a single skirmish thirty years after they left, but only two years from their perspective. Enemy reinforcements will unexpectedly arrive with equipment decades ahead of what the humans have, or show up to fight with weapons almost a century out of date. Soldiers are sent to worlds so distant and numerous that they often don’t even bother naming them.

There are other topics explored such as conscription, military sociology and culture, eugenics, and the economics of war. Interesting quirks in the world described are heavy drug use and fraternization, but he was a college student in the sixties so what can you do? It’s not as philosophically deep as Starship Troopers (the empirical standard to measure these stories by) but still fun. It took me about 12 hours to jog through it.


February 22nd, 2008

Saturday’s Lunar eclipse, from the moon!!!

So Sad

February 21st, 2008

One of the most depressing speeches on the state of the media I’ve ever read.

Anonymizing Life

February 21st, 2008

zebra.pngPrivacy is one of my favorite topics to muse over, and it’s been in the news a fair bit in the last few weeks. So here’s a collection of thoughts poorly organized and randomly selected. For a far more interesting discussion on these topics listen to Bruce Schneier, especially his discussions of Liberty vs. Control as well as Little Kids and Strangers.

Popular Science posted an interesting article regarding privacy and personal information protection. I know, sounds pointless and possibly even too esoteric for anyone to care about but the article is surprisingly well researched, especially for a Popular Science piece. It documents how difficult it is to cover your trail in today’s world, and how simply attempting this often raises suspicion.

Another great article dealing privacy and consumerism examines how Build-a-Bear takes advantage of little kids to harvest private information. I can’t exactly explain why but this particularly disgusts me, and not because of the company but how the parents are just as complacent and unquestioning as their own kids.

A great service I’ve used many times is, which offers free anonymous email access with RSS syndication. This allows effortless disposable email addresses without (directly) providing identifying information to the provider. But it does have it’s share of problems, primarily one cannot delete messages without registering an account. Therefore any registration emails you receive may potentially contain an account password and be available to anyone who happens to be looking. To secure or control an account you must make a donation through or, but now you’re giving out even more information, destroying your original intent.

Ideally anyone using or similar services could access and delete any messages on the system, allowing an individual to control many accounts simultaneously while transparently sharing others. But all of this is moot as the site hasn’t posted a privacy policy and makes no mention of where information goes behind the html brackets, so please be aware of the risks. Assume the administrator is a New York prosecutor.

A much more amusing option for protecting your identity is to wear infrared LEDs. This is a long known trick based on the idea that modern surveillance cameras typically use light from the infrared spectrum. The LEDs broadcast light blinding the cameras while remaining invisible to the human eye. This is explored quite effectively in Cory Doctorow’s short story I, Robot (a re-imagining of Asimov’s world and one of my favorite short stories – highly recommended).

This all interests me because I deal with these issues daily at work, often from many sides. We regularly protect other’s privacy, as well as organizational security as a whole, but also monitor each other through what are known as “invasive policies.” However this is far from typical as my employer places particular emphasis on things like integrity and honor, whatever those are.

Anyway I apologize for posting such slop. Future posts will be better thought out I promise.

Obama’s Got The Experience Now?

February 21st, 2008

A thorough analysis of Senator Obama’s and Senator Clinton’s legislative record.

I Want a Pet Lion!

February 21st, 2008

Lions are so cute

Henry Rollins Started Everything

February 20th, 2008

Death of a corporate news producer.

Stanford is My Hero

February 20th, 2008

Stanford drops tuition for students whose families earn less than $100k and offers free housing if less than $60k.