Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Another fantastic article over at Beliefnet.

In the present cultural atmosphere where people seem to think they must "pick sides", its nice to see an injection of fairness and modesty every once in a while. The article is here.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What goes into the production of a steak

This is a graphic illustration of the process. If you eat meat, you should be aware of what you are paying for.

The evidential basis of the "Lost Tomb" of Jesus

Money quote:
In an interview, Mr. Jacobovici was asked why the filmmakers did not conduct DNA testing on the other ossuaries to determine whether the one inscribed “Judah, son of Jesus” was genetically related to either the Jesus or Mary Magdalene boxes; or whether the Jesus remains were actually the offspring of Mary.

“We’re not scientists. At the end of the day we can’t wait till every ossuary is tested for DNA,” he said. “We took the story that far. At some point you have to say, ‘I’ve done my job as a journalist.’ ”

Monday, February 26, 2007


Tacoma Narrows Bridge

And here is some great footage with a wine glass.

Look whose profiteering off of religion now..

Religious charlatans aren't the only ones. Now it James Cameron.

For some Wikipedia fun watch the Timothy Noah article grow and shrink at the press of refresh button

I'm an unabashed fan of Wikipedia. I go there for constant talk on science, technology, and all things pop-culture. Todays pop-culture fun can be found at the Timothy Noah article. On Slate, he recently posted this article: "Evicted From Wikipedia, Why the online encyclopedia won't let just anyone in", which, of course, has sparked a flood of discussion on his Wikipedia article. A couple of times today, if hit the refresh button and new sections have come into and gone out of existence. Most recently, this has popped up (lets see if it stays there):

In a February 2007 article in Slate, "Evicted from Wikipedia"[6] Noah opened a small can of worms by discussing the Wikipedia Notability Guideline. Noah's entry had been flagged for deletion review. His entry's re-instatement seems to be purely as a result of writing the article thereby raising questions about the fairness of the policy and the consistency of its implementation.

Here's a proposal (though this is off-the-cuff and I've haven't thought through it at all): Develop a sister project were there is no notability requirement that can then function as a repository for:

1. Non-encyclopedia notable entries - where, among other things, deleted entries can live on. (At present, the closest thing I've found to this is Wikidumper).
2. For personal entries, geneologies, tidbits, and so on.

In this way, it could function as, in a sense, the most detailed record of world history and be produced in real time. Ah, I've spoken too soon, a quick Google search yields The Genealogy of the World and (maybe?) Wikipeople.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Half-Hour News Hour - And how is this funny?

Uhhhh.... and the painful, painful, laugh-track

HA! Check out this asinine detention letter

The worst part of it is the last line: "In the future, Alex would be better off simply accepting my teachings without resistence."

Two cents to go until I make my first adsense dollar

Oh yeah baby, I'm almost there! All this hard work is finally paying off....

Password Security and Firefox

I was recently asked the following question: How secure is Firefox's Password Manager? I wasn't entirely sure, so I went checking. Here's what I've found. All things considered, Firefox's Password Manager (PM) looks fairly secure. Check out this post here. Given that the passwords are encrypted, they will be hard to recover. There is though, as the comments of this article point out, at least one security weakness in Firefox's Password Manager, but it should be fixed by the release, which will be released sometimes later this month (or so they say). So I guess its not the end of the world.

About brute force password recovery tools (like FireMaster), well, I'm not sure what to think. As long as your Master Password is a good one, then I suppose it will probably have difficulty cracking it (am I right about this, anyone?). Maybe I'll try it out and see how long it takes for it to crack my own password. Anyway, if you want to be paranoid about it - it looks like the best solution I've seen is Passwordmaker, which generates random passwords for you, and the interesting thing is that it doesn't store any passwords on your computer at all, but rather - as I understand it - it generates them on-the-fly when you access your various sites.

The most hard-core way to go is TrueCrypt (though its not specifically Firefox related) and I've seriously been thinking about using it to encrypt my entire hard-drive. But at the very least, I use it to encrypt all the electronic texts of mine that have any sensitive info on them (like SS numbers, tax info, bank-account numbers, and whatnot).

20 Percent of Americans believe that the sun orbits the earth?

I find this statistic hard to believe, but according to this article:

... over 40 percent of Americans do not believe in evolution and about 20 percent, when asked if the earth orbits the sun or vice versa, say it’s the sun that does the orbiting ...

Ok, I can believe the evolution statistic, but seriously, 20 percent think the sun orbits the earth?? That's 1 in 5 American adults. No way.... HEY, geo-centrists, are you really out there?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Snickers Commercial Alternative Endings

Remember the Super Bowl commercial that had two guys eating a snickers until they kissed? Well, these two alternative endings caused a bit of an uproar from the gay community:

I think this one's actually pretty funny:

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Best Flash Games Online

Here is a pretty good list. I find this game of Virtual Pong addictive.

I love this interview with Chloe Doutre-Roussel, the author of the Chocolate Connoisseur

I don't know exactly why I love this interview... I do love chocolate, but I don't think that's the reason. I guess what I really like about it is that Doutre-Roussel's passion for chocolate is so apparent that its contagious, and when this passion is combined with her fantastic French accent and the particular way she uses the English language, well that's all it takes for me I guess. The interview is here.

Greater New Orleans White Pages, pre and post Katrina

A striking illustration of the aftermath:

Monday, February 05, 2007

The most ill intentioned seal I have ever seen

Scott Adams vs. a "self-important, humorless, autofellating, ass hat"

I love discovering flame wars like this online. Great entertainment value. On the one side, you have Scott Adams (you know - Dilbert) and on the other a biologist named PZ Myers. Scott Adams keeps a blog and, ever so often, uses it as a forum for philosophical speculation - but all in good humor. Its a good read when your taking a 5 minute break from work. Anyway, along comes PZ Myers, a in-your-face-credentials biologists who, apparently, can't stand someone even speculating about an intelligent designer. Well, I guess this post was too much for Myers:

I wonder how you can tell if an alien is “intelligent life.” Is there a test that fits all situations? For example, suppose we found a blob on Mars that moved under its own power and wasn’t a carbon-based life form. How could we tell if it was intelligent?
Suppose the blob on Mars beat you at chess. That would tell you that the blob can “compute,” but it wouldn’t tell you if the blob was intelligent “life.” A computer can beat you at chess if it’s so programmed, and no one thinks your computer is intelligent life.

What if the blob authored a book?

Don’t answer too quickly because it’s a trick question. Remember, a trillion monkeys with typewriters can write a book if you wait long enough. So let’s up the ante and say that the blob on Mars writes lots of different books. ...

It’s a trick question because atheists believe that the Big Bang did all of those things and more. The Big Bang caused the sequence of events that culminated in the Bible, the Koran, and most important – Dilbert comics. If the blob on Mars created literature, we would surely consider it intelligent.

So Myers can't take it, and has to be real ass about it:

We went round and round on this well over a year ago. Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame, wrote a shallow and ignorant argument that sort of shilly-shallied over a pro-creationist argument; I pointed out how stupid his reasoning was. The response was insane; criticize Adams, and his horde of Dilbert fans will descend on you like a cloud of pea-brained locusts. ... Basically, Adams just outed himself as a feeble hack making tepid arguments that only a creationist could believe.

Oh my! Calm down dude - its OK to speculate and throw ideas out there. And its not like he's forcing his ideas down anyone's throat. Or you can go ahead and brow-beat him next time he posts anything you find objectionable. This would be more entertainment value for me. And the more invectives the better! Oh, and thanks for turning my 5 minute break into a 20 minute break.

The Most Amazing Fold-up chair ever

This picture is absolutely amazing

(click it for a better view)

Rush Limbaugh Nominated for 2007 Nobel Peace Prize?

It's true.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Man Who Speaks In Anagrams

How Not to Embolden Terrorists

"01.31.07: Never Forget" devices throw Boston into a scare

Full story here:
Ten blinking electronic devices planted at bridges and other spots in Boston threw a scare into the city Wednesday in what turned out to be a publicity campaign for a late-night cable cartoon. At least one of the devices depicts a character giving the finger.

Highways, bridges and a section of the Charles River were shut down and bomb squads were sent in before authorities declared the devices were harmless.

"It's a hoax — and it's not funny," said Gov. Deval Patrick.

Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner Inc. and parent of Cartoon Network, said the devices were part of a promotion for the TV show "Aqua Teen Hunger Force"...

Here's the press conference of the suspects who are accused of planting these devices. Make of it what you will: