Saturday, October 07, 2006


An editorial about Foleygate Masturgate uses what I would consider an... unfortunate choice of words.
Hastert and Boehner need to get on the same page or Republican troubles will continue to mount.

I salute the crack editorial staff at The Hill for letting this stay in the final piece.

(via Volokh Conspiracy)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Stop! Or I'll Yell Stop, Again!

Thank God for the UN.
The U.N. Security Council on Friday urged North Korea not to carry out a planned nuclear-weapon test and warned Pyongyang of unspecified consequences if it did.


It warned North Korea that a nuclear test would lead to further unspecified Security Council action "consistent with its responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations."

Unspecified Consequences. How... vague. In international-diplomacy-speak I think that means "nothing".

North Korea is once again engaging in empty sabre rattling. Seriously, do they truly think their nuclear capabilities would stop anyone pounding them in the dust? Percision bomb them from high altitude, and take over the country by actually feeding it's people. I don't think there would be much insurgent action. I have yet to meet anyone who is violently opposed to eating real food.

Even China is starting to edge away from North Korea like a friend who has discovered exactly where that strange smell is coming from.

It seems everytime the world is ignoring them they make the threat of Nuclear Anihilation. Kinda of like the worlds' biggest "Look at me! Look at me! I'm relevant!" Unfortunately for the largely innocent and oppressed people of North Korea, it will be North Korea that gets anhiliated. By their own devices if their track record with technology is any indication. Their last message to the world will probably be "Whoops!"

That's OK, I'll Just Have a Glass of Water


I Have *Got* To Get a Government Job

Sounds like there's not a whole lot of work pressure at the Dept of the Interior.

Computer-use logs revealed more than 4,732 entries relating to sexually explicit Web sites and gambling sites. Some computers accessed sex sites for 30 to 60 minutes during the test period.

Department of the Interior. Don't they deal with parks and Jack Abramoff Native Americans?

Despite these ongoing issues, the department is sensitive to Internet misuse, having had several employees convicted in the past for various offenses, including possession of child pornography. The department has appropriate-use policies in place and conducts regular training, although it does not have a system[-]wide monitor or blocking system yet. Some bureaus within the department do use such tools, and there are plans to provide them department[-]wide.

Well, policies are a first step. But for them to be effective, they need to be enforced. Here's a case where a centralized security management system would come in handy. All the information from various monitoring and security tools gets aggregated in one place. With the correct data mining techniques you would be surpirsed and the kind of information and conclusions that can be pulled.

I don't see this improving any time soon. They got an "F" on the government's security audit in 2005 (so did Homeland Security -- yikes!). Unfortunately, I have a feeling they'll concentrate on
only the perimeter, as most people mistakenly do. Not a bad thing, but we like to call that crunchy on the outside -- chewy in the middle in my business.

Regardless, they have these slope-brow, lazy-ass freaks playing games and wanking to porn when they should be doing their job. It sounds a lot like economic agency models (PDF file) at work. (via Prof. Bainbridge's article on Casino Dealers). It looks like there's no incentive here to do real work. Nor much punishment to correct behavior (unless you download child-porn -- people tend to get worked up over that). Most government employees get paid no matter what their level of performance.

Perhaps I should get off my high horse. Because, I am supposed to be... uh... working right now.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

File Under: Well, Duh

From Reuters:

Research from car insurer More Than found one in five drivers admit to concentrating behind the wheel less than 75 percent of the time, with 1.2 million thinking mostly about sex.

I don't think is restricted to just during drive time.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Harry Potter and the Parents of Close Minded Idiocy

Witch Hunt in Ga.

ATLANTA — A suburban county that sparked a public outcry when its libraries temporarily eliminated funding for Spanish-language fiction is now being asked to ban Harry Potter books from its schools.

Laura Mallory, a mother of four, told a hearing officer for the Gwinnett County Board of Education on Tuesday that the popular fiction series is an "evil" attempt to indoctrinate children in the Wicca religion.

Yes, because books that show the importance of friendship, perseverance in the face of adversity, and self-reliance are evil. So is a book that is actually encouraging children to read. Dear Lord, they may want to read other books. And start to become independent thinkers.

The horror!

I think the course of action is clear. We must ban any book that encourages alternative viewpoints. Any book which does not support our common values (as defined by me and other qualified persons). In fact just to be safe, we better all burn those contrary books before they poison anybody else's mind.


Skank Fight!

Paris Hilton on her back from punch, not from presence of video camera.

Jihad II - Electric Boogaloo

I think they're missing the point.

The latest criticism of Islam being a violent religion, which was sparked by incendiary comments made by Pope Benedict XVI, has caused internet jihadis to launch a new website called Electronic Jihad, located at The purpose of the website is to help organize an electronic jihad against websites that insult Islam and Islamic sacred figures. The site has been well publicized on more established jihadi websites. Jihadi forums are posting quotes from the Quran in order to encourage and convince jihadis and regular Muslims of their duty to engage in electronic jihad and to attack anti-Islamic sites in order to shut them down.

This is violence of a different sort. Until Muslims stop reacting this way to every viewpoint that doesn't fit in with their dogma, they are doing nothing but reinforcing the view that Islam is a reactionary, violent, hate-filled religion. The inability to deal with criticism or even outright hostility in a constructive manner is a sign of weakness not strength. Striking out at anyone even the least bit critical of Islam is a downward spiral.

Violence is the last resort of the civilized; the first for barbarians. And remember..

Eventually, someone with a bigger stick comes around an stomps you into the ground.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Technology Tuesday

Open Sesame! (via Schneier on Security)

William Talcott, a prominent San Francisco poet with dual Irish citizenship, had fans all over the world. But when he died in June of bone marrow cancer, his daughter couldn't notify most of his contacts because his e-mail account--and the online address book he used--was locked up.

Talcott, 69, a friend of beatnik Neal Cassady, apparently took his password to the grave.

I'm a little divided on this one. I have a lot of things locked up (email, online accounts, encrypted USB drives, finances) and while for some things it would be easier if access was granted when I shrug off this mortal coil, there are others I don't want anyone to see --especially family members.

Some kind of third party escrow service could work here. Someone to hold passwords, pass-phrases, and encryption keys in trust and surrendering them according to the dictates in the will (or next of kin if no will exists).

Monday, October 02, 2006

Crazy Like A Fox!

George Clooney has outlined his plan for dealing with paparazzi.

"I want to spend every single night for three months going out with a different famous actress. You know, Halle Berry one night, Salma Hayek the next, and then walk on the beach holding hands with Leonardo DiCaprio.

"People would still buy the magazines, they'd still buy the pictures, but they would always go, `I don't know if these guys were putting us on or not.'"

The fiend! How can anyone come up with a plan so diabolical. So subtle. So... stupid. This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard in the long history of stupid. This is something a 6th or 7th grader would come up with. I'm surprised his quote didn't end with a lot of muffled giggling.


The title of the article is priceless in its irony: George Clooney Wants to Outwit Paparazzi. This should be interesting, since both combantants would be fighting unarmed.

Clooney's agents should just 'fess up. He got hit on the head years ago and keeps chewing trough the restraints to release inane PR statements.

Personally, when it comes to dealing with the paparazzi, I like this strategy better.

Double O - Bad Ass!

Oh hell ya!

I just got done watching this trailer, and let me say one thing:

Oh please, oh please, oh please, let this not suck.

Ever since Golden Eye, I wanted an edgier, darker James Bond. Golden Eye hinted at it. But alas, the Brosnan Bond slid into the surfacey fluff all the Bonds had (except for Lazenby in On Her Majesty's Secret Service). Please let this Bond be the merciless tool of the state, a container of a cold, dark rage held barely in check. Please let this Bond be Ian Flemming's and not EON Production's.

I don't know who Daniel Craig is, but he looks (at least in the promo photos) like more of a thug than the previous Bonds. Someone who will smile in your eyes while pulling the trigger.

Let it be true. Let it be the Bond I've always wanted to see --less gadgets, more pathos.

Sp1ter Girl

I'm definitely not an Avril fan, but you can't help but admire this. (The spitting, not the apology)

According to reports, Lavigne spat at photographers in two separate incidents last week. Lavigne apologized for her "behavior with the paparazzi."

However, her apology, posted on her Web site, indicated she 'meant no offense" to her fans, not the paparazzi. She said she will always go out of her way for fans.

I'm gald the apology was for your fans and not the paparazzi. Never apologize to these parasites. These scum are the scrapings from the bottom of the barrel that is modern journalism. If I had a group of people constantly following me, shoving cameras in my face, and invading every aspect of my life you can be sure spitting would be the least I would do.

I would probably go all Sean Penn on them.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Look Into My Evolved Eyes

Here we go again...

Proponents of "intelligent design" in the United States are waging a war against teaching science as scientists understand it. Over the past year alone, efforts to incorporate creationist language or undermine evolution in science classrooms at public schools have emerged in at least 15 states, according to the National Center for Science Education. And an independent education foundation has concluded that science-teaching standards in 10 states fail to address evolution in a scientifically sound way. Through changes in standards and curriculum, these efforts urge students to doubt evolution -- the cornerstone principle of biology, one on which there is no serious scientific debate.

Repeat after me: Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory. It belongs in a comparative religion or philosophy class. ID relies on an axiom that is fundamentally untestable. No test can be designed to prove or disprove the existence of a Primal Cause, be it God or ET. Beyond the heavens opening up with angelic choir, or a visit from an alien (they better have damn good lab notes to back up their claims), ID is an unsupportable hypothesis from a scientific standpoint.

This is not a war of religion against science. The two have thrived together for centuries. Nor is it a struggle of believers against godless materialists; many believers practice science and find inspiration for it from their faith. It is a battle between religious dogma cloaked as science and open inquiry that leads to new knowledge and understanding of the natural world.

The notion of intelligent design is clever; it has a certain philosophical appeal. The evolution of a human eye from a series of random mutations, for example, is indeed difficult to understand; the notion of an intelligent creator solves such problems, and feeds our spiritual needs. But it distracts us from learning what is scientifically testable and reduces students' will to probe the natural world.

Oh, for Christ's sake! That lame "the eyeball could not possibly be a result of evolution" argument. Of all the arguments these... alternative scientists could make, this one is the stupidest. No engineer would ever design a light sensitive organ with the structure of the eyeball (except for maybe an octopus eye -- that one is pretty damn cool). Hell, there's a blind spot smack dab in the middle of our field of vision. That's because the optic nerve is attached on the inside of the eye as opposed to the back.
The eyeball is a poorly designed organ, but its structure makes perfect sense if you look at it as an organ that has evolved from a cluster of light sensitive neurons. Difficult to understand does not mean impossible to understand. Well, perhaps in the IDers case it is impossible to understand, since a foundation of basic biological science, which they seem unwilling to acknowledge, is necessary.

If the US wants to remain competitive in the world of pharmacology, medicine, genetics, --hell, anything related to biology, we need to stop producing scientific imbeciles in this country. Trying to inject Intelligent Design (which is Creationism playing dress-up) into a science class or downplaying the importance of evolution in biology class is ignorant and irresponsible.