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In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

Toad-san Does That Include Email? (414 comments)

So the very polite and courteous email I received from the Cuban Foreign Office back after Hurricane Katrina will no longer be quite the unique bit of memorabilia after all?

Lest we forget, Cuba offered to send doctors and other medical assistance to help the suffering residents in New Orleans after Katrina did its thing .. and the US State Department was hardly even polite with their refusal.

http://fpif.org/bush_administr...
http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/...

So I emailed the Cuban Foreign Office to apologize :-) I'm sure I tripped some intelligence tripwires on that little gesture, but meh .. who cares? I, being previously assigned to the 8th Special Forces Group in Panama back in The Day, was probably on a Cuban Intelligence list or two in any event :-) Luckily everyone (Cuban and US) apparently had a sense of humor, or sense enough not to screw with the topic. Or maybe NSA wasn't quite as invasive then as now. I still thought it awfully decent of the Cuban government to respond to my unsolicited email.. startled no doubt by the "SGM, USA SF (Ret)" in my email's signature.

2 days ago
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MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate

Toad-san How Old IS This Chocolate? (323 comments)

If we're eating more than we produce, that means we're eating stockpiled chocolate, right? Which means old chocolate bars. And we haven't noticed?

I used to wonder about the unique "Tropical Chocolate" bars we used to be issued in Vietnam. They always had a musty smell to them, but I figured it was from their unique properties (NOT to melt in hot climates) .. and of course all military rations are expected to be stored for lengthy periods of time.

The real panic won't begin until the stores (e.g., stored, stockpiled chocolate) run out.

about a month ago
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AT&T To "Pause" Gigabit Internet Rollout Until Net Neutrality Is Settled

Toad-san Makes Sense To Me (308 comments)

If AT&T can't be sure they can charge for the additional bandwidth provided by these higher speed links, and if they can't be sure their current users will pay for the higher speed .. how can they pay for the expansion? Sounds like a no-brainer to me, and I don't blame them.

Water company: "We were going to lay a new 8" water line into the neighborhood, but the town wouldn't give us permission to increase the water service charge."
State: "We wanted to add a third lane to the Interstate, but the Feds wouldn't promise to help fund it. And the taxpayers won't let us raise gas taxes for thru-state traffic that doesn't even buy gas!"

Of course don't miss a chance to take a cheap shot at AT&T.

about a month ago
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Comcast Kisses-Up To Obama, Publicly Agrees On Net Neutrality

Toad-san Comcast May Be Lying Scum ... (258 comments)

but that doesn't mean they have it wrong. I don't agree with this whole "Open Internet" concept. It's like everyone (and every business) paying a flat rate for highway access. It becomes simple to understand: you and I will be paying for maintaining roads that we hardly use (compared to truckers, taxis, commuters and the like).

Or water: flat rate for every city or town water user? I don't think so: the jerk next door with the sprinklers running 24 hours a day, the car wash up the street, paying the same as me? "There's plenty of water. And the town can just add more wells and water processing plants." Right .. and who pays for that?

Or a flat rate for a telephone number. I use it maybe 4-5 times a week. My wife, a dozen times a day. A teenager a hundred times a day. A commercial phone advertiser continuously. The phone companies apparently have figured out how to do this efficiently with land lines; the cell companies are still juggling the numbers. But I'm not subscribing to a cell company who offers family rates, multiple phones, unlimited texting and data transfers, for the same price they charge me! Just wouldn't be prudent: I KNOW I'm paying for someone else's excessive usage.

If everyone pays according to their usage, it makes a LOT more sense, is a lot fairer, etc. Why should I pay my ISP (and everyone else involved in carrying Internet traffic) so that Netflix and any other high-rate broadband user can make money from their extraordinarily higher usage? Instead, let Netflix pay more for that traffic (along with everyone else), and let Netflix pass on the additional costs to their users.

You cannot convince me that enough investment in Internet links, throwing in more comm links, etc. will magically solve all the problems. I know damned well there will NEVER be enough bandwidth: look how land line phones (and even cell phones) are switching over to Skype and equivalent VOIP services. And who's paying for that? Yeah .. me and thee.

So Comcast is pulling some scummy tricks, no question there. They lie: surprise, surprise. Doesn't change the basic economics.

about a month ago
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Scientists Coax Human Embryonic Stem Cells Into Making Insulin

Toad-san Is More Insulin the Answer? (100 comments)

I thought one of the problems with diabetes was not having the _right_ amount of insulin, corresponding to the levels of blood sugar?

I've seen the effects of too much insulin, and it ain't pretty. (It's called hypoglycemia, folks.) So just stuffing a bunch of insulin producer cells in a person's system is not going to be the solution.

about 2 months ago
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National Security Letter Issuance Likely Headed To Supreme Court

Toad-san Re:All Judges (112 comments)

I find that very hard to believe. Could you please provide a link supporting that allegation?

about 2 months ago
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BitHammer, the BitTorrent Banhammer

Toad-san There Are Uses (429 comments)

Heh, just the thing every business and school should run all the time :-)

Oh sure, some student can argue he's downloading history references that he can only reach through bittorrent .. good luck with that :-)

about 2 months ago
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Intel Drops Gamasutra Sponsorship Over Controversial Editorials

Toad-san Thanks for the Insight (724 comments)

I appreciate very much the varying points of view here .. that didn't get TOO paranoid or conspiratorial, thank the godz.

However .. I just went to www.gamasutra.com, expecting to see a hotbed of feminist rages.

Surprise, surprise, surprise - very bad Gomer Pyle imitation

One, uno, ein, 1 blog entry from a female worker at Angry Birds on gender balance, and a very thoughtful article indeed!

So where's the beef? Why the furor? Tempest in a teakettle, eh?

I'm thinking Intel is succumbing to a kneejerk response to a flood of bogus complaints. Tch, shame on them.

about 3 months ago
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Experiment Shows Stylized Rendering Enhances Presence In Immersive AR

Toad-san Stylized Rendering? (75 comments)

Is that a fancy phrase for "out of focus"? "Low definition"? Why does this "scientific" study evoke a huge, resonating "DOH!" ??

about 3 months ago
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Which Cars Get the Most Traffic Tickets?

Toad-san I SPEET On Your Steenking Sportvan! (261 comments)

My mother-in-law's Mercury Topaz is surely a greater danger! How she gets away with it I'll never know.

What a crappy misuse of statistics. Heh, hardly even statistics. How about balancing those "ticketed" numbers against the number of each model on the road? I don't see a single Porsche, Maserati, Jaguar, not even Corvettes! And they don't get tickets? Come on!

about 3 months ago
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Aral Sea Basin Almost Completely Dry

Toad-san Check Out Lake Powell (151 comments)

http://earthobservatory.nasa.g...

Quite startling, how the water levels change. But read the article to see why this is happening, and where it's going. It seems it doesn't take a "totalitarian government" to do stupid, short-sighted things. But hey, enjoy your golf at Vegas, hear? And the water shows.

about 3 months ago
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The Secret Goldman Sachs Tapes

Toad-san DAMN Good Report (201 comments)

But sad, almost disgusting to see how lousy the government and its agencies can be. Maybe I want to throw up now.

I certainly have no good feelings about the Fed or our major banks, even if this report DID come from the Fed. Too bad the media didn't do ITS job to highlight things like this. Thanks, Slashdot and "This American Life".

about 3 months ago
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Service Promises To Leak Your Documents If the Government Murders You

Toad-san But I Can't Find it! (98 comments)

Curiously I can't seem to find the site. And there are very few "Dead Man Zero" hits on Google. The link in the main article doesn't get you there either. (I was going to ask them for a free account, just to foil the NSA or whoever if in fact this _was_ a honeypot.

about 3 months ago
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'Why Banana Skins Are Slippery' Wins IgNobel

Toad-san Infected Site? (127 comments)

I wouldn't go to that link if I were you. My office system warned me of a malicious exploit there: "A known bad file was blocked from opening." Program: winners[1].htm(Exploit)

Might be a false alarm .. but then again, maybe not.

about 3 months ago
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An Accidental Wikipedia Hoax

Toad-san There's something wrong with this "hoax" (189 comments)

The picture of the character at the Wikipedia site appears to be real, and was uploaded by someone else entirely.

The reference to the author, Peggy Parrish, appears to be real, a real person, a real author.
Numerous other links to Amelia Bedelia books, stage plays, movies, etc. appear to be valid and real, and date FAR earlier than this purported hoax.

I submit that EJ Dickson, the self-proclaimed hoaxer, is hoaxing us all with a hoax about a non-existing hoax!

about 5 months ago
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Wikipedia Blocks 'Disruptive' Edits From US Congress

Toad-san Supervise Your Children (165 comments)

""Out of over 9,000 staffers in the House, should we really be banning this whole IP range based on the actions of two or three? "

Yes. It may get the attention of the guilty parties. I, for one, want to see the exact identification of that House representative, the office guilty of this ongoing abuse. Name names, cowards!

about 5 months ago

Submissions

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SciFi Author Frederick Pohl Dies At 93

Toad-san Toad-san writes  |  about a year ago

Toad-san (64810) writes "From the New York Times (and my local paper):

"Frederik Pohl, whose passion for science fiction while growing up in Brooklyn led to a distinguished career as one of its most literate and politically sophisticated practitioners, though one who was skeptical about attempts to perfect society through scientific means, died on Monday. He was 93.""

Link to Original Source
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Harry Harrison, the Stainless Steel Rat: Sayonara

Toad-san Toad-san writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Toad-san (64810) writes ""R.I.P. Harry Harrison, creator of the Stainless Steel Rat, Bill the Galactic Hero, and Soylent Green
Charlie Jane Anders

If Harry Harrison had only created "Slippery" Jim DiGriz, the roguish hero of the Stainless Steel Rat books, he would deserve a high place in science fiction history. But he also wrote dozens of other novels, including the hilarious Bill the Galactic Hero saga, the proto-Steampunk classic A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah!, and the novel that became the movie Soylent Green, Make Room! Make Room!.

Amazingly, Harrison kept writing great novels, with the last Stainless Steel Rat book coming out just two years ago. He died today, aged 87, according to his official website. No details are yet known.""

Link to Original Source
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Google Safety Feature Breaks Google!

Toad-san Toad-san writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Toad-san (64810) writes "Happening now: Search Google for anything, anything at all. Like "readyboost". Click on any of the Google selections (something nice and safe, like wikipedia): http://www.google.com/interstitial?url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReadyBoost See that "interstitial" part? That's Google screening the site for dangers. And guess what? Yeah, every single steenking site in the Known Universe is now a threat. And the Google warning page won't let you go on! What you do is edit the first part (through "interstitial?url=" off, leaving just the actual second HTTP: URL, the actual search target. Silly bastiges. I've sent off a rocket to Google, for what that's worth."
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Why No Legal Action Against Smitfraud

Toad-san Toad-san writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Toad-san (64810) writes "We have to wipe and restore perhaps a dozen PCs a week after they've been infected with Smitfraud (or one of its clones). And dozens more have various infections and malware (mostly "blackmailware" or "extortionware", where the user has been fooled by a popup on the web somewhere (usually warning him that his computer is infected and vulnerable), has clicked on a window to "download the best possible fix to your computer infection", and has now infected his previously clean system.

It's obvious who's doing it; the money trail would be simple to follow. (They all want money, of course.) And indeed EVERY pop-up ad and piece of spam has a sponsor, someone who's paying the gangsters to do it.

So why aren't the authorities doing anything about it? These PC owners are suffering real losses, real costs, I'm sure amounting to millions of dollars annually. Yet the FBI and others aren't interested?

Seems strange to me. I really would rather not make money like this.

Toad-san"
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NY Times Fooled by Syria Attack Photoshopping?

Toad-san Toad-san writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Toad-san (64810) writes "Remember the NY Times photos of the supposed Syrian nuclear plant site the Israelis were supposed to have bombed? Article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/27/world/middleeast/27syria.html?_r=1&oref=slogin Well, our boys at AGW (a Warbirds forum) discussed, investigated, and wondered. And one of the boys did a great overlay, comparing the two (pre-strike and post-strike) images. And guess what? Yep .. same image, apparently photoshopped. Gotta love it. Discussion thread is here (hope it doesn't get slashdotted): http://agw.bombs-away.net/showthread.php?t=69581 And the animated overlay graphic is here: http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c161/Naja — /lesson-gif.gif Now to see how humble the NY Times becomes, when some bleedin' amateurs outdo the serious analysts. Toad-san (who's looked at a few aerial and satellite photos in his time)"

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