Thursday, December 08, 2005

Not Quite Responsible Disclosure

Microsoft puts a lot of effort into advocating and rewarding the process of Responsible Disclosure. RD allows folks who discover software vulnerabilities to share the information with the manufacturer and others in a way which maximizes the appropriate countermeasures are available before an exploit and minimizes risks to the community at large. When done correctly, the process allows everyone to benefit by coordinating the availability of a patch, fix or workaround, with the disclosure of the vulnerability. The discoverer is always fully credited with the effort, which is almost always the goal for security researchers.

One way not to do RD is to email, post or blog the details of the vulnerability before a fix has been established, as it puts everyone at risk.

Another way not to do it is to post the vulnerability on eBay.


Incompetent Design

Frankly, I've been wondering about why no one has said this for so long, I've thought about writing it myself.

Don Wise, professor emeritus of geosciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is the nation's foremost proponent of ID. No, Wise isn't getting ready to testify on behalf of the school board in Dover, PA. Rather, he advocates for a different version of the acronym: "incompetent design."
Wise cites serious flaws in the systems of the human body as evidence that design in the universe exhibits not an obvious source of, but a sore lack of, intelligence. Seed asked him to chat about his theory, reactions he's received to it, and the anthem he penned to rally people to his cause.

The thing that perhaps is closest to all of us is our own skeleton, and there are certainly all kinds of stupidity in our design. No self-respecting engineering student would make the kinds of dumb mistakes that are built into us. All of our pelvises slope forward for convenient knuckle-dragging, like all the other great apes. And the only reason you stand erect is because of this incredible sharp bend at the base of your spine, which is either evolution's way of modifying something or else it's just a design that would flunk a first-year engineering student.

Look at the teeth in your mouth. Basically, most of us have too many teeth for the size of our mouth. Well, is this evolution flattening a mammalian muzzle and jamming it into a face or is it a design that couldn't count accurately above 20? Look at the bones in your face. They're the same as the other mammals' but they're just squashed and contorted by jamming the jaw into a face with your brain expanding over it, so the potential drainage system in there is so convoluted that no plumber would admit to having done it!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the
time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He
also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet,
he suffered from bad breath. This made him .(Oh, man, this is so bad,
it's good).... A super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

Okay, frist of all, this was sent TO me, I did not make it up.
Second, well, ummm.. well... pound for pound puns are your best entertainment value.

The Problem with Science

Nicholas Kristof has an excellent column today on the NYT page about the culture of humanities and problem that most people aren't familiar enough with science to understand what it's doing in and to the world.

But put aside the evolution debate for a moment. It's only a symptom of something much deeper and more serious: a profound illiteracy about science and math as a whole.
One-fifth of Americans still believe that the Sun goes around the Earth, instead of the other way around. And only about half know that humans did not live at the same time as dinosaurs.
The problem isn't just inadequate science (and math) teaching in the schools, however. A larger problem is the arrogance of the liberal arts, the cultural snootiness of, of ... well, of people like me - and probably you.

What do I mean by that? In the U.S. and most of the Western world, it's considered barbaric in educated circles to be unfamiliar with Plato or Monet or Dickens, but quite natural to be oblivious of quarks and chi-squares. A century ago, Einstein published his first paper on relativity - making 1905 as important a milestone for world history as 1066 or 1789 - but relativity has yet to filter into the consciousness of otherwise educated people.

"The great edifice of modern physics goes up, and the majority of the cleverest people in the Western world have about as much insight into it as their neolithic ancestors would have had," C. P. Snow wrote in his classic essay, "The Two Cultures."

The counterargument is that we can always hire technicians in Bangalore, while it's Shakespeare and Goethe who teach us the values we need to harness science for humanity. There's something to that. If President Bush were about to attack Iraq all over again, he would be better off reading Sophocles - to appreciate the dangers of hubris - than studying the science of explosives.


"A new study suggests that middle-aged adults who go on periodic drinking binges may face a heightened risk of dementia later on in life. The study is entitled, 'National Strategy for Victory in Iraq.'" ---Tina Fey


Monday, December 05, 2005

Stewie Live

This has been a lot of fun

Stewie live

shoot gun
take over world

are a few amusing ones