Saturday, November 26, 2005


Sorry for the gap in blogging. It's been kind of quiet around here. Jim has been in Seattle the last few days and, well, things did not go as well as I had hoped on Wednesday with the MS clinic (more later), so I have taken a few days off from the world.

I should be back with some items over the weekend.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Sony Rootkit

A really outstanding walkthrough of the Sony Rootkit story by Mark Russinovick, the analyst who discovered it. Added bonus; he links to all the tools.

The DRM reference made me recall having purchased a CD recently that can only be played using the media player that ships on the CD itself and that limits you to at most 3 copies. I scrounged through my CD’s and found it, Sony BMG’s Get Right with the Man (the name is ironic under the circumstances) CD by the Van Zant brothers.

Excellent quote from Sony President Thomas Hesse

Nanotech Update

The Chinese are *way* ahead of us in nanobiotechnology.

Also, there is this news out of New Zealand

Monday, November 21, 2005

On the Effectiveness of Aluminium Foil Helmets

An Empirical Study

I *KNEW* it!

When tin-foil hats are outlawed, only outlaws will have tin-foil hats.

UPDATE: What kind of scientist would I be if I didn't publish the rebuttle?

Printing Your Resume At Work

Think no one can track your paper documents?

Think again.

Decypher Dog

Muppet Babies meet the National Security Agency as seen by the marketing department.

I wish I could make this shit up.

On The Way Up

MSFT stock has been lanquishing at $24.50 +/- $1 for months and has been a drag on my portfolio. Last week I finally had enough and set an auto-sell order if it got to $27. It did last week. On it's way to $29+


Some Physics I Don't Quite Get

From the APOD:

Alternatively, surface particles may become electrically charged by the Sun, levitate in the microgravity field, and move to fill in craters.

I understand the Poynting-Robertson effect (applied here to asteroid dust instead of free particles but it's the relavent physics), and the whole suspended dust thing. The two-part question I don't know the answer to is a) if the gravity is that weak, why don't the particles just fly off all together and b) why don't we see this anywhere else?

It's a mystery.

Penn Jillette

I heard Penn on NPR's "This I Believe" this morning and thought he did a fantastic job expressing my view on religion. When I got in, I was going to post a link.

Ironically, I got some email this morning from Tara, linking me to the same piece. :) 20 years later and I am still the same.

Penn talks about an important part of atheism that a lot of sober, serious religious minded folk neglect, the basis for making moral choices. A lot of arguments I have had start with the naive view that "without god, men would all do evil", sort of the reverse of the Marxist-Leninist assumption. I've never bought into either extreme. If folks want to do bad, religion will give them an excuse to do what they want (like flying planes into buildings), similar to doing good (like running into a burning building to save folks). People's gods look an awful lot like themselves. My point is, dispense with the middleman and be more honest about morals. Folks will do what they think is right, god or no god.

Penn does a good job summarizing the economics of atheism:

Believing there's no God means I can't really be forgiven except by kindness and faulty memories. That's good; it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I have to try to treat people right the first time around.

Without God, we can agree on reality, and I can keep learning where I'm wrong. We can all keep adjusting, so we can really communicate. [...] So, believing there is no God lets me be proven wrong and that's always fun. It means I'm learning something.

Believing there is no God means the suffering I've seen in my family, and indeed all the suffering in the world, isn't caused by an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent force that isn't bothered to help or is just testing us, but rather something we all may be able to help others with in the future. No God means the possibility of less suffering in the future.

It's a good article and, while there is some moralizing and making fun of the other side, there is no more of it here than I've received in a decent catholic mass. It's just directed toward the folks who aren't used to being mocked.

Supporting the Troops

I don't think this is what people have in mind exactly:

Here's how it works: non-military members sign up to adopt a soldier on Rush's website, while current military members sign up to be adopted. Once an adopter and an adoptee are matched up, the adopted soldier receives a free subscription to "The Limbaugh Letter" and to the premium content on Rush's website.

Fabulous! And all at the low, low cost of $50, which goes directly into Rush's pocket.

Oh, I'm sorry - you didn't think he was doing this out of charity did you? Nope, despite the fact that Rush's site claims to be offering "complimentary RUSH 24/7 subscriptions," if you want to be able to say you've adopted a soldier through Rush's program then you have to
cough up the cash. Because someone's got to pay for those "complimentary subscriptions," and it sure as hell ain't gonna be Limbaugh.