Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later
I can't have any kind of surgery that involves cutting a flap in the cornea since my eyeballs still need to be shockproof, there are types that don't require this though. Still a bit worried about the aura/halo effect. And the cost is not insignificant.
Black Holes Not Black After All, Theorize Physicists
After I read TFS, I am become infinitely hilarity!
Empathy For Virtual Characters Studied With FMRI Brain Imaging
...They should make someone play FF7 and run this test at the point where Aerith(/Aeris) dies.
Finding Life In Space By Looking For Extraterrestrial Pollution
What if the aliens aren't a bunch of irresponsible, selfish shitbirds? A civilization as advanced as ours or better could go unnoticed because they have a clean atmosphere.
Favorite "Go!" Phrase?
Came here to say this!
States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth
Who said I was advocating totalitarian communism or democratic socialism (which is just as doomed because it still runs on a contemporary capitalist economy) or perfect equality (which is impossible)?
Giving about as much of the planet's resources as possible (including the work of its population) to a few hundred people is completely unsustainable however.
People could still work if they want to for some extra money. It just wouldn't be mandatory for living beyond mere survival. And if there isn't much demand for human labor, what's the problem?
US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers
But but but, teh future is supposed to be full of infinitely growing tech jobs, this is unpossible!!1!
States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth
That probably would work, if not for automation now replacing far more jobs than it creates. To paraphrase a guy I don't like to quote, these jobs aren't coming back.
Besides, at this point I think we can do better than hacking more fixes onto this tarted-up barter system. Why not be more ambitious?
White House Approves Sonic Cannons For Atlantic Energy Exploration
I don't like the "energy" euphemism, they're not searching for some tidy glowing yellow stuff like something from an RTS game. Let's call it what it is. OIL. Wildlife-gooping, coast-ruining, fossil-carbon-filled, toxic oil that needs to have more energy dumped into it to be refined into something we can use.
States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth
Automation and/or skyrocketing inequality will soon bring capitalism as we know it today crashing down. This is just sticking your finger in the dam.
The only way forward that doesn't involve revolution and bloodshed starts with mincome.
The Hacking of NASDAQ
It has to be possible to make money by "shopping around," or the HFT companies wouldn't be making money, and you wouldn't be saving any. Even if it's a miniscule amount for each trader, their total impact comes down to the balance between the savings for the "weak traders" and the losses for everyone else.
The Hacking of NASDAQ
OK, so it's good for people like you who don't want to shop around for a good price. But what about those who do? They don't have the option of not going through these middlemen unless they are faster. So which is greater, the savings to those who don't want to shop around or the losses to those who do?
The Last Three Months Were the Hottest Quarter On Record
The study I linked to makes no such argument. That is a straw-man. What the study shows is that surface temperature warming has been about half of what an average of all models projected. (Note that "surface temperature" is actually atmospheric temperature near the surface.) Regardless of whether there changes happening elsewhere, the models still got it wrong. That is the point. The models are flawed.
Well then let me rephrase what I said: The study you linked to about overestimations basically makes the "only atmospheric warming" mistake, which is what creates the illusion of "the pause."
Same problem. Now you could argue that the models were wrong by failing to predict the amount of heat to be absorbed by the oceans, but that's like accusing someone of mis-estimating the speed of a roof leak because it did not fill a bucket in the expected time, because the bucket had a hole half-way up the side. The problem is still occurring at the expected speed but the damage didn't go where expected. Which is indeed a shortcoming of the models, but not a failure to predict the amount of warming (or damage - oceanic warming is at least as bad as atmospheric warming) on a whole correctly. It's still our best knowledge and a far sight better than every claim that has flown in the face of decades of "mainstream" climate science for many years now.
I admit that I had missed your second link. But this is hardly proof of anything. You brought us right back to the original issue: whether (and how) the datasets like GISS, HadCRUT etc. have been manipulated. It isn't valid to use that data as proof of itself. In order to demonstrate anything you have to compare it to something else. Like, for example... satellite data!
I thought the issue was the models, will you not trust the observed temperature data from the same institutions that are responsible for some of those models? If not, did you make sure the datasets from the 2 satellites and 4 balloons used in Spencer's graph did not come from these institutions? And if so, how does this not lead us back with you standing in front of the C-word and whistling innocently?
So from some quick reading of your two links I take it the main problem with the "97%" study is that it doesn't take into account where exactly the "skeptics" are most lately trying to pick apart the expanding seams of the Mountain of Evidence. So a "skeptic" who believes GW is real and primarily human-caused but won't be bad, (the corner most "skeptics" have found themselves backed into in the last 5-7 years) for example, would not be counted correctly.
I suppose that's true, but it begins to blur the lines between scientific and political opposition to global warming. For example that "skeptic" could be correct for certain values of "not bad" that could be open for non-scientific debate. For example he/she may consider living on Freedom Ship while the rest of the world goes to hell to be "not bad" while I would disagree. They may overestimate the feasibility of domed cities and consider those "not bad," and I would disagree on both points.
At that point the "skeptic" becomes more like a "political opponent" because the room for anything that might pass for scientific skepticism has been practically eliminated.
Dell Starts Accepting Bitcoin
You can bet every computer purchased through BitCoin is going to make a stop by the NSA. Buying a computer with untraceable currency AND having an interest in cryptography!? Either one alone would get you labelled an "extremist."
Point-of-Sale System Bought On eBay Yields Treasure Trove of Private Data
An excellent question.
I'm betting this POS machine was basically a full-blown PC hooked up to a cash drawer. It seems to be a popular setup with small businesses (I'm guessing actual cash registers cost a lot - and they're certainly not as versatile).
A hardware store and a couple car parts stores near my house have this setup. The car parts stores use them for parts info lookup as well. Maybe this machine was also holding the HR files.
The Hacking of NASDAQ
Nope I gotta agree with all the other people who have replied to you. I can't figure out how this is adding value. To me it just doesn't compute. Why did the seller sell the bike for less than $600? Why did the buyer pay more than $500? If they're willing to compromise, couldn't they have done the transaction directly and saved money without the middleman?
The Hacking of NASDAQ
That's not a perfect analogy, but it's not too far off.
It's more like this. There's a classifieds forum which regular users can refresh once every 10 minutes. Special users with a paid subscription can refresh once per second.
You post "Bicycle wanted, will pay up to $500" and someone else posts "Bicycle for sale, $400" then the speedy special user buys the bicycle for $400 and puts it up for sale for $500 before you or the seller can refresh (at best, when they're not doing even shadier things like spamming the forum with fake Wanted posts etc).
Somehow this is supposed to produce value. I think it has a similar effect on the economy to either robbery or counterfeiting currency. I can see no way this produces any value.
The Hacking of NASDAQ
Wasn't something like this done after the Flash Crash (or some other recent stock exchange fuckup?)
The Hacking of NASDAQ
Exactly. Do your worst, black hats. The system's already rooted by Wall Street bankers.
Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine
I would like to add that a boulder fell on a mountain goat in Paraguay this morning and it was also a result of the Democrats' disastrous foreign policy.
The biggest stories that didn't make it to Slashdot
I'm going to start another running-updated journal entry where I list the most important stories that didn't make it to Slashdot - all of these so far were actually submitted but died in the firehose, probably to make room for some article spergin' over the minutiae of Apple's latest shiny or a digital PHB poop from InfoWorld. After two went by in just the last week I was really fed up. I'm going to list them in chronological order, newest at the top. You'll find that I link to a lot of my own submissions here, it's not simple vanity and butthurt, it just happens that if I see an important story and don't find it in the firehose, the submitter ends up being me.
Official USPTO crowdsourced patent-busting system goes online: To geeks the awesomeness of this news is somewhere between the invention of a working light saber and Natalie Portman ringing your doorbell and holding a bucket of hot grits over her head. Finally we can call prior art on new patents and challenge old ones. Any of us. Story died in the firehose. UPDATE: Just as I post this journal the story makes it to the front page
Assange's DNA not found on condom presented as evidence: Earth-shatteringly big news in the Assange sexual assault case, and perhaps the extradition case as well. Died in the firehose.
FSF petitions against closed implementation of UEFI secure boot: Maybe things would be different today if this had been posted to Slashdot, right when the argument over UEFI secure boot hit fever pitch. When submitting this story I ran into the title headline limit without any kind of warning, that surely didn't help.
Trapster hacked, 10 million passwords at risk: At the time at least, it was the biggest successful exploit in history in terms of accounts compromised, and the passwords may have been in plaintext with Trapster management dodging the question at every turn. Pretty good story huh? Was declined.
Assange Q&A session: This story came out not long after Assange emerged from anonymity as the Wikileaks founder and answered a lot of questions that were coming up at the time (and that many people probably still don't know the answer to). It doesn't help that Gunkerty Jeb submitted the story first from the original source with a flamebaiting shitpost, thus blacklisting the URL and tainting editors' opinions of the story. Later I submitted the same story from a different source but it was declined.
Know any more that belong on this list? Nominate them in the comments.
Where's Wall-E - awesome picture
A friend of mine linked me this awesome pic, a "Where's Waldo" with fictional robots.
There are robots from all genres and media in here. I've spotted one from an obscure short indie film and got a little hit of the joy that hipsters crave, and found an easter egg for the Asimov readers.
Still I can't identify all of the robots. To do that will take knowledge of everything from classic sci-fi to current kids' cartoons. Fun for the whole geek family!
I've been featured on The Onion!
OK not really, but the similarities are absolutely startling, they even know which floor I work on!
And I made Firefox's Session Restore fail from too many open tabs a few weeks ago!
The big difference being that I obviously don't work that hard all the time :-P
MS and Canonical Bet Big on the Death of the PC
A desktop OS' popularity is soaring after a good release - the OS is stable, easy to use and the interface is good. Then suddenly, the next version foists a reduced-functionality touchscreen-friendly interface on desktop users, and they hate it, but the developers are completely unswayed by the avalanche of user outrage. This OS is both Windows and Ubuntu. The only logical explanation for these puzzling actions from both companies is that they're betting it all on the death of the desktop and the rise of the tablet, viewing desktop usability as nothing but a legacy feature soon to be phased out. Are Microsoft and Canonical making a big mistake? Apple has continued to keep their desktop OS' interface desktop-friendly. The big tablet pusher isn't so sure of a tablet-filled future devoid of PCs, why is the competition?
My BTRFS dedupe script
Here's a BTRFS dedupe script I made earlier this year. I started with this and modded from there. Right now it runs in sort of a paranoid mode, even if two files have identical sizes and hashes it will still do a byte-for-byte comparison before considering them identical. This will run faster on a system that uses tmpfs for /tmp.
WARNING: When I tried this script earlier this year on an Oneiric box it would hang on one of the first few reflink operations and freeze the whole PC. It damaged the BTRFS partition it was operating on beyond repair. In theory this should certainly work but in practice it might ruin your shit. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
# Usage: dedup.sh PATH_TO_HIER_WITH_MANY_EXPECTED_DUPES
# use trap to clean temp dir on break
trap 'rm -rf $DTEMPPATH; exit' 2 3
mkdir "$DTEMPPATH" ;
find $@ -type f | while read F
FHASH=$(md5sum "$F" | cut -d" " -f1);
FSIZE=$(stat --printf %s "$F");
# If hashed, it's probably a dupe, compare bytewise
# and create a CoW reflink
if [ -f "$DTEMPPATH/$FSIZE/$FHASH" ];
if cmp -s "`readlink -f $DTEMPPATH/$FSIZE/$FHASH`" "$F";
echo "$F is a duplicate of `readlink -f $DTEMPPATH/$FSIZE/$FHASH`" ;
#get permissions of file to be deduped
FOWNERSHIP=$(stat --printf "%u:%g" "$F");
FPERMS=$(stat --printf %a "$F");
#make delete, link & permission set unbreakable
trap '' 2 3
echo -n "starting dedupe op..." ;
#---action part, comment this out for dry run---
echo -n "deleting..." ;
rm "$F" ;
echo -n "reflinking..." ;
cp --reflink "`readlink -f $DTEMPPATH/$FSIZE/$FHASH`" "$F" ;
echo -n "chowning..." ;
chown "$FOWNERSHIP" "$F" ;
echo -n "chmodding..." ;
chmod "$FPERMS" "$F" ;
#---action part's over---
echo "complete." ;
#re-set exit trap to clean temp dir
trap 'rm -rf $DTEMPPATH; exit' 2 3
echo "HASH COLLISION BETWEEN $F -AND- `readlink -f $DTEMPPATH/$FSIZE/$FHASH` - skipping." ;
# It's a new file, create a hash entry.
#echo "$F is new" ;
if [ ! -d "$DTEMPPATH/$FSIZE/" ];
mkdir "$DTEMPPATH"/"$FSIZE" ;
ln -s "$F" "$DTEMPPATH/$FSIZE/$FHASH" ;
rm -rf "$DTEMPPATH" ;
This also doesn't handle SELinux contexts or xattrs, but if I could get this to work I'd try changing "cp --reflink" to "cp --preserve=mode,ownership,timestamps,context,xattr --reflink", which should also replace the chown & chmod operations if it works properly.
Wired's Summer 2012 Sci-Fi & Fantasy books
Wired's book recommendations have been harshly criticized by many Slashdotters in Mcgrew's journal before as "not really geeky." The opening paragraphs of today's list contain the words "buzz-worthy" and "latest trends," but read on - there are very geek-relevant books in there this time:
Summer School for Geeks: 11 New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books
Especially geek-relevant is the Newsflesh trilogy, possibly the first hard sci-fi zombie apocalypse story. Finally you don't have to settle for "viruses did it with virus magic" and "the ragtag team of survivors made it to the quarantine camp and lived happily ever after in a world infested with zombies. The End. ^_^ " I have to add that to my reading list, I've been craving a hard sci-fi zombie apocalypse for sooo long.
Cool tip - VLC global hotkeys
I'm on a journal roll this morning.
VLC is often pointed out as a piece of software that's too geeky because it has a million and one options. It allows a level of customization that would more than satisfy even the most assburgerish nerd. But here's a handy one you might not have known about: global hotkeys. VLC allows you to set hotkeys that work even when the app doesn't have focus, in both Windows and Linux.
And it's so simple and useful you'll feel stupid if you haven't been using it already. You go to Hotkeys in the Simple interface, and click the table cell under Global for the command you want and hit the key you want to assign. When you're done, hit Save at the bottom (important!) and restart VLC.
My desktop and laptop both have Next/Prev/Play&Pause/Stop keys so I assigned those. I also assigned the Volume Up and Down (VLC's own volume control with preamp that can be cranked super high, a godsend for videos of unusual volume) to Ctrl-Next and Ctrl-Prev. Very handy, now when I'm playing music I never have to bring up the VLC window!
Got my Gmail hacked despite ultra-tight security
So this morning I logged into my Gmail and got a "login from unusual location" warning that happened sometime yesterday. Yesterday, I only logged into Gmail from two usual places, no unknown wifi APs or proxies, and here is a login from some US address (ubiquityservers.com:220.127.116.11).
I advertise my email on Slashdot, making it easy for potentially pissed-off hackers to have a crack at it, and it's secured to stand up to this. It has a very strong password and a recovery question that requires you to hash the original password with some extra characters. IMAP and POP3 access are disabled. 95% of the time I browse with anti-MITM and cert-checking plugins. Needless to say I don't have malware on any of my computers. So understandably I was stunned and incredulous that this account had been brute-forced, but to be safe I had to reset it so I mashed the keyboard for a long random password, saved it to a couple computers on the network (important! :-P but I had never saved the old password anywhere, now I have to come up with a new memorable strong password, D'oh!!!), set the Gmail password to it and updated the recovery password (because changing the recovery password without changing the recovery question would be a very clever way to keep a second shot at access).
All of my personal web accounts are registered to this email so I'll have to keep an eye on them. Still I think this must be due to some vulnerability in Gmail, there's just no freaking way that password was brute-forced, especially considering that Gmail has a brute force limiter.
UPDATE: Found a possible explanation
Someone who knows only my Gmail address (which I advertise freely) could have broken into my account under "scenario A" in the study, and presumably changed the password and recovery challenge if they wished to. Pretty scary.
Making Google keep to itself with Multifox
Firefox can't do that. What it can do, with the Multifox plugin, is open a new window with a separate identity. And they survive session restores too, handy! So it's like having a separate browser installed, just minus all the hassle that makes that a PITA solution.
My Sci-Fi reading list
So the list of sci-fi books I plan to read has been building up, because recently I just haven't had the time. I usually just blow through books when I'm on vacation but otherwise can't get much reading done, that's why I still haven't finished proofreading mcgrew's latest Paxil Diaries compilation (sorry!). I figured I better write them down before I forget them (which is something I can do very easily) and why not share the list while I'm at it?
So here they are in no particular order:
REAMDE by Neal Stephenson (EDIT: Heard too many bad reviews calling it a "more drawn out Anathem" rather than the "return of Snow Crash" we were led to expect)
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Daemon & Freedom by Daniel Suarez (better finish them before the movie comes out)
Lacuna: Demons of the Void by David Adams (Slashdotter-written & available DRM-free)
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein (I know, not having read this is terrible for my geek cred)
The Ship who Sang by Anne McCaffrey (only heard of this one in the thread on her death...my dad is a big McCaffrey fan but it's hard for me to get into fantasy/soft sci-fi mixes)
Second Cousins by Douglas Roberts (also Slashdotter-written & available DRM-free)
Fallen Dragon by Peter Hamilton
Rx by Robert Brockway (available DRM-free)
Year Zero by Rob Reid
How to launch a successful Web 2.0 startup
Today I was reading this article and suddenly the steps to running a successful Web 2.0 startup became clear:
1. Come up with the most dystopian perversion of social networking your imagination is capable of.
2. Make it real.
Many of these services are created with the intention of making themselves "gatekeepers of reputation": most prominently Reppify and Klout (mentioned above) and Angie's List. Others have become de-facto "gatekeepers" over time (LinkedIn and to a lesser extent Facebook), but these have been created with the nearly explicit intention from day one. Quite a worrying trend, we already have credit scores to worry about, the last thing we need is more privately-controlled worthiness metrics that we have to build up by appeasing our corporate overlords.
List of Shill Accounts on Slashdot
Since journals are now apparently editable with no time limit, I figured I'd provide the public service of listing the active shill accounts I come across on Slashdot. Keep in mind that many employ negative marketing, where they sling mud at competing products and companies rather than promoting their own, and of course posting some balance of personal non-shilling posts is a good way to reduce suspicion.
Here the shills will be listed by the company they are shilling for along with some comments. I'll link to their user pages to make it convenient for you to see their comments and submissions and judge for yourself.
Microsoft shilling has really flared up over the last couple of years and MS is currently running the overwhelming majority of astroturf campaigns on Slashdot. It is suspected that the company running the campaign for MS is
Waggener Edstrom (thanks anon!). Recently there's been a shift towards negative marketing, where the shills say bad things about Google products while subtly plugging MS products. They often call anyone who says anything bad about Microsoft an anti-MS zealot who's stuck in the past.
GPLJonas: A brand new user comes on and his very first post (which is a first-post itself) gushes about the wonders of Windows Server while making factually inaccurate negative statements about Linux. Uh huh. Funny enough, part of the post was plagiarized from an entry in PedXing's blog. These shills can't even do an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. Seems like the shills took a break for the 2011 holiday season and now they're back at work.
InsightIn140Bytes: Recent shill account, more subtle than the last wave.
nepka: another standard-issue MS shill. I notice a lot of the political comments these guys make are heavily pro-establishment. Just an odd trend.
andresa: Standard-issue negative-marketing shill, the type most commonly employed by Microsoft as of mid/late 2011. With these more recent accounts they seemed to have stopped bothering with posting a balance of personal material.
ge7:Older shill account, seems to be inactive now. This account is from a time when MS was trying hard to keep their shills credible, with nearly half of their posts being non-shilling neutral posts.
Viablos: Old shill account I dug up from my email.
bucceneerwagstrom: Another standard-issue shill, this one's name a play on Waggener-Edstrom. They're mocking us.
Mike Wag & Jennifer Wag: Check out the last name on this lovely couple.
h105: Standard-issue shill.
PieLala: Another day, another MS-related headline, another brand new account first-posting about how great MS products are.
noh8hrz/noh8hrz2: Apple shills are damn near impossible to distinguish from their fanboys, but I'm pretty sure this one's a shill.
Every now and then some anti-google shilling pops up that doesn't promote any other company's products at all, it just spreads FUD about Google products. It's likely part of this Burson-Marsteller astroturfing campaign.
DcDc: Here's an example. There were a few I missed before him doing the same thing.
DebianUbuntu: This one implies that MS made bad decisions in the past, very different from the pro-MS shills. On the other hand this one made the unusual move of promoting Bing search.
PointyToe: 'nother hit n' run anti-Google shill.
O422: Another one. I'm starting to wonder if these could all be the work of mentally ill Apple-lover and Google-hater bonch, he used to do the same kind of thing until he disappeared, just before the anti-Google shilling started...
drinkydoh: A nametroll of active, long-time Slashdot user drinkypoo's name and a tireless and highly successful anti-Google shill. This guy's like a goddamn machine and puts no effort into pretending to be a real user.
Getting rid of shills
The best way to get rid of shills is intense public shaming. They'll at least start new accounts when one is caught and shamed, and that will cost them karma and slow them down. Busting shills will cost you some karma, both from uninvolved and apathetic Slashdotters who don't like your off-topic comments and from other shills who want to keep shill-busting comments modded down (you'll notice most shill accounts have the "spent all my mod points" achievement). But what's karma for if not to spend it, and why not spend it on something positive? ;)
If anyone has any more to add to this list then please comment. I know there are many but I'm just adding the few that I can remember.
Update: SharkLaser turned out to be a troll. Partly I feel better because trolling for lulz isn't as bad as shilling for cash, but on the other hand that means there's a troll submitter with a better approval rate than me.
Dan Schectman and a true story of controversy in science
Take a look at this. This is what controversy in science really looks like. And what happened in the end? A cover-up? A genius dying in poverty? No, the guy who was right won a freaking Nobel prize and made his critics look like total morons. This is the reward that rightly awaits any scientist who can disprove the status quo. Later I will have to do a proper write-up and submit it to Slashdot, the AGW denialists must see this.
Web Technology Solution Form (work in progress)
The discussion on the recent article on JS' problems inspired me to make this, but I've also made it with solutions to the CA problem, client apps, and multimedia tech like Flash/Silverlight/WebGL in mind.
Your proposed web technology is a:
( ) Client-based
( ) Server-based
( ) Network-based
Solution trying to address a lack of:
( ) Speed
( ) Security
( ) Functionality
( ) Interoperability
And requires all devices to:
( ) Have the same CPU architecture
( ) Run the same operating system
( ) Use a proprietary and/or patent-encumbered piece of software
( ) Be carefully administered by security-conscious uber-geeks
( ) Place all trust in one corporation or government agency
( ) Unnecessarily rely on a fragile, hierarchical infrastructure
( ) Exposes CPU/GPU microcode vulnerabilities to the web
( ) Makes web developers' lives miserable
( ) Makes users' lives miserable
( ) Destroys developer freedom
( ) Destroys user privacy
( ) Only moves the problem to another area
In summary, your solution fails because:
( ) One True Platform solutions are not acceptable
( ) Average Joes have to use computers too
( ) There are bad guys on the Internet
( ) Proprietary and/or hierarchical web technologies are bad and the last thing we need is more of them
I'll take suggestions on what to add to this form, so make some.
Facebook's pure HTML tracking system
Not really. Facebook's doing it old school. It's a long story you can read here, but a peculiar effect caused by my menagerie of security plugins brought my attention to a new form of tracking that Facebook's been using over (at least) roughly the last week. In a Wired.com page, I found that Facebook is using a small iframe that fetches a page with a URL such as:
In this case the basic URL of the page this was found on being http://www.wired.com/autopia/2011/08/no-public-transit-no-job/
This iframe actually renders the Like button.
This form of tracking will work with the most basic of browsers with all client-side scripting/application systems and web-facing APIs disabled. Upon doing more research I found that Lynx is actually safe as it doesn't display frame contents, but rather converts them into hyperlinks.
From this tracking iframe Facebook can get, at a bare minimum, the following info:
- The page you've just viewed
- Your IP address
- Your browser agent info (which, by default, contains far more detail than you might think - right down to your machine's CPU architecture).
The only surefire way to block it would be to blacklist all connections to any Facebook domains - and the domains of any other tracking services that deploy similar systems in the future.
I was considering posting this to Slashdot's firehose but some more research has shown that Facebook has been offering at least some sort of iframe method for inserting Like buttons since at least April 2010, so I'll just post to my journal for now rather than potentially making a fool of myself.
How to bring the cops to Tor exit node operators' doors using the .exit feature
So today I ran across an interesting feature of Tor. You probably know about .onion sites, basically a freenet-like feature. Well there's another special Tor domain called .exit. This allows you to directly access a peer over the Tor network (so you could, say, access their FTP server (if they've made the port available over this service) over Tor when it isn't open to the Internet otherwise or is blocked from your country) and it also allows you to specify the exit node that your traffic goes out through, by going to something like http://google.com.peername.exit.
You can see the problem with this, right?
Normally when you connect to Tor your exit node changes randomly every few minutes. With the ability to specify which node your traffic exits through, you could do a large number of illegal things through a single exit node, destroying the exit node operator's plausible deniability that it was some random guy. Or even just one very illegal thing done through a node could ruin the exit node operator's life - uploading child porn to a government web site for instance. This feature is poorly documented and not many people know about it - it's on the Wikipedia article about .onion sites but not mentioned in the Tor documentation as far as I can tell!
Even if its existence were better-known, it increases the risk of running a Tor exit node, and there's apparently no way to disable .exit access through your node entirely. Cycling peer names and disabling the published contact email will make it harder for someone to pin you down but isn't a surefire countermeasure.
After all this gloom and doom about Tor I should mention that I also found a potentially useful little-known feature: the Bridge Relay setting. This allows you to help the Tor network somewhat without putting yourself at any legal risk whatsoever or risk of being banned from sites that ban Tor exit nodes. When set as a bridge relay, your node will act as an intermediary between other Tor nodes only. Not as useful as running an exit node but it could be a good option for many people, businesses could even safely allow bridge nodes to run after hours. So anyone who's been afraid to run an exit node but wants to help the network, at least do this.
Sweet, sweet bigot payback! Lulz ho!
In the article on yesterday's terrorist attacks in Norway, bigots were already saying that those dirty brown Muslim terrorists must be to blame and spewing their usual hatred with "wipe out Islam" this and "Religion of Peace LOLZ" that.
Well who's the suspect today, who was identified by survivors and known to have bought 6 tons of (presumably ammonium-nitrate) fertilizer? Blonde-haired, light-eyed, fundie-Christian gun nut Anders Behring Breivik. A perfect match for the US bigot demographic. YESSS. OH YES! HNNNNGGGG. Ahem, sorry, I was just cumming on the inside.
I can't wait for this to hit a Slashdot article so that I can troll the fuck out of all of them.
Obfuscated physician's humor in the Slashdot fortune system
So today at the bottom of a Slashdot story, I saw a big wall of nonsense text in the Fortune (which has been broken for the past week or so, hilariously stuck displaying an anti-OSS quote). The garbage text looked like ROT13'd English, and sure enough this is what I found (brace for Great Wall of Text):
A CODE OF ETHICAL BEHAVIOR FOR PATIENTS: 1. DO NOT EXPECT YOUR DOCTOR TO SHARE YOUR DISCOMFORT. Involvement with the patient's suffering might cause him to lose valuable scientific objectivity. 2. BE CHEERFUL AT ALL TIMES. Your doctor leads a busy and trying life and requires all the gentleness and reassurance he can get. 3. TRY TO SUFFER FROM THE DISEASE FOR WHICH YOU ARE BEING TREATED. Remember that your doctor has a professional reputation to uphold. % A CODE OF ETHICAL BEHAVIOR FOR PATIENTS: 4. DO NOT COMPLAIN IF THE TREATMENT FAILS TO BRING RELIEF. You must believe that your doctor has achieved a deep insight into the true nature of your illness, which transcends any mere permanent disability you may have experienced. 5. NEVER ASK YOUR DOCTOR TO EXPLAIN WHAT HE IS DOING OR WHY HE IS DOING IT. It is presumptuous to assume that such profound matters could be explained in terms that you would understand. 6. SUBMIT TO NOVEL EXPERIMANTAL TREATMENT READILY. Though the surgery may not benefit you directly, the resulting research paper will surely be of widespread interest. % A CODE OF ETHICAL BEHAVIOR FOR PATIENTS: 7. PAY YOUR MEDICAL BILLS PROMPTLY AND WILLINGLY. You should consider it a privilege to contribute, however modestly, to the well-being of physicians and other humanitarians. 8. DO NOT SUFFER FROM AILMENTS THAT YOU CANNOT AFFORD. It is sheer arrogance to contract illnesses that are beyond your means. 9. NEVER REVEAL ANY OF THE SHORTCOMINGS THAT HAVE COME TO LIGHT IN THE COURSE OF TREATMENT BY YOUR DOCTOR. The patient-doctor relationship is a privileged one, and you have a sacred duty to protect him from exposure. 10. NEVER DIE WHILE IN YOUR DOCTOR'S PRESENCE OR UNDER HIS DIRECT CARE. This will only cause him needless inconvenience and embarrassment. % A distraught patient phoned her doctor's office. "Was it true," the woman inquired, "that the medication the doctor had prescribed was for the rest of her life?" She was told that it was. There was just a moment of silence before the woman proceeded bravely on. "Well, I'm wondering, then, how serious my condition is. This prescription is marked `NO REFILLS'". % A doctor calls his patient to give him the results of his tests. "I have some bad news," says the doctor, "and some worse news." The bad news is that you only have six weeks to live." "Oh, no," says the patient. "What could possibly be worse than that?" "Well," the doctor replies, "I've been trying to reach you since last Monday." % A woman physician has made the statement that smoking is neither physically defective nor morally degrading, and that nicotine, even when indulged to in excess, is less harmful than excessive petting." -- Purdue Exponent, Jan 16, 1925 % A woman went into a hospital one day to give birth. Afterwards, the doctor came to her and said, "I have some... odd news for you." "Is my baby all right?" the woman anxiously asked. "Yes, he is," the doctor replied, "but we don't know how. Your son (we assume) was born with no body. He only has a head." Well, the doctor was correct. The Head was alive and well, though no one knew how. The Head turned out to be fairly normal, ignoring his lack of a body, and lived for some time as typical a life as could be expected under the circumstances. One day, about twenty years after the fateful birth, the woman got a phone call from another doctor. The doctor said, "I have recently perfected an operation. Your son can live a normal life now: we can graft a body onto his head!" The woman, practically weeping with joy, thanked the doctor and hung up. She ran up the stairs saying, "Johnny, Johnny, I have a *wonderful* surprise for you!" "Oh no," cried The Head, "not another HAT!" % After his legs had been broken in an accident, Mr. Miller sued for damages, claming that he was crippled and would have to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. Although the insurance-company doctor testified that his bones had healed properly and that he was fully capable of walking, the judge decided for the plaintiff and awarded him $500,000. When he was wheeled into the insurance office to collect his check, Miller was confronted by several executives. "You're not getting away with this, Miller," one said. "We're going to watch you day and night. If you take a single step, you'll not only repay the damages but stand trial for perjury. Here's the money. What do you intend to do with it?" "My wife and I are going to travel," Miller replied. "We'll go to Stockholm, Berlin, Rome, Athens and, finally, to a place called Lourdes -- where, gentlemen, you'll see yourselves one hell of a miracle." % After twelve years of therapy my psychiatrist said something that brought tears to my eyes. He said, "No hablo ingles." -- Ronnie Shakes % Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined. -- Samuel Goldwyn % Aquavit is also considered useful for medicinal purposes, an essential ingredient in what I was once told is the Norwegian cure for the common cold. You get a bottle, a poster bed, and the brightest colored stocking cap you can find. You put the cap on the post at the foot of the bed, then get into bed and drink aquavit until you can't see the cap. I've never tried this, but it sounds as though it should work. -- Peter Nelson % As a general rule of thumb, never trust anybody who's been in therapy for more than 15 percent of their life span. The words "I am sorry" and "I am wrong" will have totally disappeared from their vocabulary. They will stab you, shoot you, break things in your apartment, say horrible things to your friends and family, and then justify this abhorrent behavior by saying: "Sure, I put your dog in the microwave. But I feel *better* for doing it." -- Bruce Feirstein, "Nice Guys Sleep Alone" % At the hospital, a doctor is training an intern on how to announce bad news to the patients. The doctor tells the intern "This man in 305 is going to die in six months. Go in and tell him." The intern boldly walks into the room, over to the man's bedisde and tells him "Seems like you're gonna die!" The man has a heart attack and is rushed into surgery on the spot. The doctor grabs the intern and screams at him, "What!?!? are you some kind of moron? You've got to take it easy, work your way up to the subject. Now this man in 213 has about a week to live. Go in and tell him, but, gently, you hear me, gently!" The intern goes softly into the room, humming to himself, cheerily opens the drapes to let the sun in, walks over to the man's bedside, fluffs his pillow and wishes him a "Good morning!" "Wonderful day, no? Say... guess who's going to die soon!" % Be a better psychiatrist and the world will beat a psychopath to your door. % Better to use medicines at the outset than at the last moment. % Certain old men prefer to rise at dawn, taking a cold bath and a long walk with an empty stomach and otherwise mortifying the flesh. They then point with pride to these practices as the cause of their sturdy health and ripe years; the truth being that they are hearty and old, not because of their habits, but in spite of them. The reason we find only robust persons doing this thing is that it has killed all the others who have tried it. -- Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary" % Cure the disease and kill the patient. -- Francis Bacon % Death has been proven to be 99% fatal in laboratory rats. % Dental health is next to mental health. % Ever notice that the word "therapist" breaks down into "the rapist"? Simple coincidence? Maybe... % For my son, Robert, this is proving to be the high-point of his entire life to date. He has had his pajamas on for two, maybe three days now. He has the sense of joyful independence a 5-year-old child gets when he suddenly realizes that he could be operating an acetylene torch in the coat closet and neither parent [because of the flu] would have the strength to object. He has been foraging for his own food, which means his diet consists entirely of "food" substances which are advertised only on Saturday-morning cartoon shows; substances that are the color of jukebox lights and that, for legal reasons, have their names spelled wrong, as in New Creemy Chok-'n'-Cheez Lumps o' Froot ("part of this complete breakfast"). -- Dave Barry, "Molecular Homicide" % Fortune's Exercising Truths: 1: Richard Simmons gets paid to exercise like a lunatic. You don't. 2. Aerobic exercises stimulate and speed up the heart. So do heart attacks. 3. Exercising around small children can scar them emotionally for life. 4. Sweating like a pig and gasping for breath is not refreshing. 5. No matter what anyone tells you, isometric exercises cannot be done quietly at your desk at work. People will suspect manic tendencies as you twitter around in your chair. 6. Next to burying bones, the thing a dog enjoys mosts is tripping joggers. 7. Locking four people in a tiny, cement-walled room so they can run around for an hour smashing a little rubber ball -- and each other -- with a hard racket should immediately be recognized for what it is: a form of insanity. 8. Fifty push-ups, followed by thirty sit-ups, followed by ten chin-ups, followed by one throw-up. 9. Any activity that can't be done while smoking should be avoided. % [From an announcement of a congress of the International Ontopsychology Association, in Rome]: The Ontopsychological school, availing itself of new research criteria and of a new telematic epistemology, maintains that social modes do not spring from dialectics of territory or of class, or of consumer goods, or of means of power, but rather from dynamic latencies capillarized in millions of individuals in system functions which, once they have reached the event maturation, burst forth in catastrophic phenomenology engaging a suitable stereotype protagonist or duty marionette (general, president, political party, etc.) to consummate the act of social schizophrenia in mass genocide. % God is dead and I don't feel all too well either.... -- Ralph Moonen % "Good health" is merely the slowest rate at which one can die. % Happiness is good health and a bad memory. -- Ingrid Bergman % Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die. % Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing. -- Redd Foxx % His ideas of first-aid stopped short of squirting soda water. -- P.G. Wodehouse % Human cardiac catheterization was introduced by Werner Forssman in 1929. Ignoring his department chief, and tying his assistant to an operating table to prevent her interference, he placed a ureteral catheter into a vein in his arm, advanced it to the right atrium [of his heart], and walked upstairs to the x-ray department where he took the confirmatory x-ray film. In 1956, Dr. Forssman was awarded the Nobel Prize. % I get my exercise acting as pallbearer to my friends who exercise. -- Chauncey Depew % I got the bill for my surgery. Now I know what those doctors were wearing masks for. -- James Boren % "I keep seeing spots in front of my eyes." "Did you ever see a doctor?" "No, just spots." % If a person (a) is poorly, (b) receives treatment intended to make him better, and (c) gets better, then no power of reasoning known to medical science can convince him that it may not have been the treatment that restored his health. -- Sir Peter Medawar, "The Art of the Soluble" % If I kiss you, that is an psychological interaction. On the other hand, if I hit you over the head with a brick, that is also a psychological interaction. The difference is that one is friendly and the other is not so friendly. The crucial point is if you can tell which is which. -- Dolph Sharp, "I'm O.K., You're Not So Hot" % If you look like your driver's license photo -- see a doctor. If you look like your passport photo -- it's too late for a doctor. % It is very vulgar to talk like a dentist when one isn't a dentist. It produces a false impression. -- Oscar Wilde. % It's no longer a question of staying healthy. It's a question of finding a sickness you like. -- Jackie Mason % It's not reality or how you perceive things that's important -- it's what you're taking for it... % Just because your doctor has a name for your condition doesn't mean he knows what it is. % Laetrile is the pits. % My doctorate's in Literature, but it seems like a pretty good pulse to me. % Neurotics build castles in the sky, Psychotics live in them, And psychiatrists collect the rent. % Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died. -- Erma Bombeck % New England Life, of course. Why do you ask? % page 46 ...a report citing a study by Dr. Thomas C. Chalmers, of the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, which compared two groups that were being used to test the theory that ascorbic acid is a cold preventative. "The group on placebo who thought they were on ascorbic acid," says Dr. Chalmers, "had fewer colds than the group on ascorbic acid who thought they were on placebo." page 56 The placebo is proof that there is no real separation between mind and body. Illness is always an interaction between both. It can begin in the mind and affect the body, or it can begin in the body and affect the mind, both of which are served by the same bloodstream. Attempts to treat most mental diseases as though they were completely free of physical causes and attempts to treat most bodily diseases as though the mind were in no way involved must be considered archaic in the light of new evidence about the way the human body functions. -- Norman Cousins, "Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient" % Paralysis through analysis. % Proper treatment will cure a cold in seven days, but left to itself, a cold will hang on for a week. -- Darrell Huff % Psychiatry enables us to correct our faults by confessing our parents' shortcomings. -- Laurence J. Peter, "Peter's Principles" % Psychoanalysis is that mental illness for which it regards itself a therapy. -- Karl Kraus % Psychiatry is the care of the id by the odd. % Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you. -- C.G. Jung % Psychology. Mind over matter. Mind under matter? It doesn't matter. Never mind. % Pushing 30 is exercise enough. % Pushing 40 is exercise enough. % Quit worrying about your health. It'll go away. -- Robert Orben % Sigmund's wife wore Freudian slips. % Some people need a good imaginary cure for their painful imaginary ailment. % Sometimes the best medicine is to stop taking something. % Straw? No, too stupid a fad. I put soot on warts. % Stress has been pinpointed as a major cause of illness. To avoid overload and burnout, keep stress out of your life. Give it to others instead. Learn the "Gaslight" treatment, the "Are you talking to me?" technique, and the "Do you feel okay? You look pale." approach. Start with negotiation and implication. Advance to manipulation and humiliation. Above all, relax and have a nice day. % The 80's -- when you can't tell hairstyles from chemotherapy. % "... the Mayo Clinic, named after its founder, Dr. Ted Clinic ..." -- Dave Barry % "The molars, I'm sure, will be all right, the molars can take care of themselves," the old man said, no longer to me. "But what will become of the bicuspids?" -- The Old Man and his Bridge % The New England Journal of Medicine reports that 9 out of 10 doctors agree that 1 out of 10 doctors is an idiot. % The real reason psychology is hard is that psychologists are trying to do the impossible. % The reason they're called wisdom teeth is that the experience makes you wise. % The secret of healthy hitchhiking is to eat junk food. % The trouble with heart disease is that the first symptom is often hard to deal with: death. -- Michael Phelps % The Vet Who Surprised A Cow In the course of his duties in August 1977, a Dutch veterinary surgeon was required to treat an ailing cow. To investigate its internal gases he inserted a tube into that end of the animal not capable of facial expression and struck a match. The jet of flame set fire first to some bales of hay and then to the whole farm causing damage estimate at L45,000. The vet was later fined L140 for starting a fire in a manner surprising to the magistrates. The cow escaped with shock. -- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures" % We have the flu. I don't know if this particular strain has an official name, but if it does, it must be something like "Martian Death Flu". You may have had it yourself. The main symptom is that you wish you had another setting on your electric blanket, up past "HIGH", that said "ELECTROCUTION". Another symptom is that you cease brushing your teeth, because (a) your teeth hurt, and (b) you lack the strength. Midway through the brushing process, you'd have to lie down in front of the sink to rest for a couple of hours, and rivulets of toothpaste foam would dribble sideways out of your mouth, eventually hardening into crusty little toothpaste stalagmites that would bond your head permanently to the bathroom floor, which is how the police would find you. You know the kind of flu I'm talking about. -- Dave Barry, "Molecular Homicide" % "Welcome back for you 13th consecutive week, Evelyn. Evelyn, will you go into the auto-suggestion booth and take your regular place on the psycho-prompter couch?" "Thank you, Red." "Now, Evelyn, last week you went up to $40,000 by properly citing your rivalry with your sibling as a compulsive sado-masochistic behavior pattern which developed out of an early post-natal feeding problem." "Yes, Red." "But -- later, when asked about pre-adolescent oedipal phantasy repressions, you rationalized twice and mental blocked three times. Now, at $300 per rationalization and $500 per mental block you lost $2,100 off your $40,000 leaving you with a total of $37,900. Now, any combination of two more mental blocks and either one rationalization or three defensive projections will put you out of the game. Are you willing to go ahead?" "Yes, Red." "I might say here that all of Evelyn's questions and answers have been checked for accuracy with her analyst. Now, Evelyn, for $80,000 explain the failure of your three marriages." "Well, I--" "We'll get back to Evelyn in one minute. First a word about our product." -- Jules Feiffer % When a lot of remedies are suggested for a disease, that means it can't be cured. -- Anton Chekhov, "The Cherry Orchard" % Your digestive system is your body's Fun House, whereby food goes on a long, dark, scary ride, taking all kinds of unexpected twists and turns, being attacked by vicious secretions along the way, and not knowing until the last minute whether it will be turned into a useful body part or ejected into the Dark Hole by Mister Sphincter. We Americans live in a nation where the medical-care system is second to none in the world, unless you count maybe 25 or 30 little scuzzball countries like Scotland that we could vaporize in seconds if we felt like it. -- Dave Barry, "Stay Fit & Healthy Until You're Dead" %
That's what came out, character-for-character.
My psychic comedy powers
Check this out guys, a while ago I made this joke about a commercial airliner getting into a near-collision with a LearJet at JFK international airport. Today on CNN? The prophecy is fulfilled! Think I should get a funny hat and look into a different line of work?