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31 May 2006

Software Toys from the Net

Bruce Schneier blogged about TrueCrypt today... I haven't had time to really look at it, but if Bruce mentioned it, it is probably worth it.

News from the Net

The Supreme Court has decided that government employees who whistleblow do not get 1st amendment rights while on the job. Maybe I am missing something... The text of the 1st Amendment says: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. How does this not follow under or abridging the freedom of speech?

Ever thought of making a MMORPG? Then this information might interest you...

Haven't looked it over much, but the main screen here looks like something that could be useful for Dino ;)

Been trying to figure out what to do with those old archaic computers in your closet? Maybe you should consider this?

A New Version of BladeRunner???

HA! The European Court of Justice ruled that the deal the United States made with airline companies about passenger data is illegal

Stem Cells have been found in the heart

Here's an idea for you... automated dorm rooms.

Extracting oxygen from moon soil? Moon base here we come :)

Nuclear power breakthrough to use lasers instead of centrifuges. Weren't they already doing that? Or was that just in science fiction movies?

Google registered and Interesting.

The article/commentary itself wasn't what caught my attention... I saw Cthulu racing karts and thought of Kuntz :)

Now, why does Pakistan get WiMax before Portland? You're slipping Silicon Forest

NYC Mayor suggests having a national fingerprint/DNA database to track legal US Workers.. IE: Expect it to be illegal for you to work if you aren't in the database

Scientists and Philosophers now agree with what I have said all along... the egg came first.

Since I got fired yesterday, maybe I should consider going Pro in Second Life

I thought work is what people do between MMORPGs. If you do Second Life for a job, what do you do durring your off hours?

Posted by Sylkwyrm on Wed May 31 00:48:00 PDT 2006
Prime Numbers? ;)

Posted by Malachi on Wed May 31 03:08:00 PDT 2006

I LOVE Blade Runner!

I'm kinda getting tired of all these "definitive" versions of everything though....................

Posted by Sarah on Wed May 31 10:27:00 PDT 2006

26 May 2006

News from the Net

Long-distance phone tax being repealed as of 31 July 2006? Weird

Not even a month after I blogged about Microsoft saying they would not impede the adoption and use of OpenDocument format, they are now trying to convince people it is too slow... wow, they didn't even wait long enough for us to forget what they last said

If you still use Symantec AntiVirus, you might want to read this.

Oooh, Nokia is releasing source code under a BSD license... Now if only I had some free time

You know, it isn't the first time someone has designed a cloak of invisibility, but I really like this approach.

Based on my experience with our scale and BMI, I don't see how this would be accurate if you gained/lost weight or if you were wet...  However, it is by Mitsubishi, so let's get it into my Eclipse! And that Speed-Sensitive Sound too!

What do NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox all have in common? Besides the fact that they all do news -- they all hate remote DVRs

Honda has taken their robot one step further, to allow controlling it with brain waves... sweeet :)

This is fucking awesome! The MPAA is being sued for theft! Take that annoying pre-movie anti-piracy commercials!

It appears that the game that I am still waiting for a beta invitation to is trying to get rid of any resemblence to World of Warcraft, including ex-WOW players


The MPAA is being sued for stealing email corispondence... After all the laws that break and bend to fit their needs they are finally geting caught for hiring a hacker....interesting.

Posted by Sylkwyrm on Fri May 26 01:17:00 PDT 2006

This is fucking awesome! The MPAA is being sued for theft! Take that annoying pre-movie anti-piracy commercials!



Posted by Sarah on Fri May 26 06:43:00 PDT 2006

25 May 2006

Toys from the Net

How about a Yoda Backpack?

Touchscreen Suduko

A 'Will Return' clock.

Killer Bunny Wabbit slippers

Or how about some signs?


Killer bunny slippers, eeeeee!

Posted by Sylkwyrm on Thu May 25 05:45:00 PDT 2006
I want Yoda!!!! 

Posted by Sarah on Thu May 25 06:08:00 PDT 2006

Double Majority

On the way to work this morning, I was listening to the Thom Hartmann show on AM620.  I listed to him argue with this guy for 15 minutes (where he kept saying things like "Why don't you like Democracy" and "Why do you want to screw over the children") until such point that I actually called in (until my cell phone died).

Basically, the whole debate came up because there was a 32% voter turnout in the most recent vote, and a majority of those that voted said they wanted to increase property tax to pay for the schools.  The bill failed to pass because it required a majority of people to vote.

Thom Hartmann contended that it failing was anti-democratic because the majority of those who did vote wanted it and it failed.  I disagree. I don't think 32% of the population can be relied on to accurately represent the will of the public ON ANY ISSUE.

They spend all this time arguing (and Thom Hartmann talking shit to this guy) because the bill required that a majority of the public wanted it -- yet the real problem is that the voter turnout was too low.  A few years ago, it was only 5% voter turnout. At that level, I don't think anyone could accurately claim that 5% of the population speaks for everyone. At 32%, it isn't even a 1/3rd of the population.

The real problem is lack of voter turnout.  Hell, I didn't even know there was a vote until the day of (since we check our mail about once a month -- our bills don't go to the home, only spam). Obviously, mail-in-voting isn't enough to get the majority of voters to actually vote.

Tony and I have argued in the past about how best to approach the problem.  I feel that what we need is an online voting mechanism IN ADDITION TO everything we have now.  While I agree that it is likely to increase the number of upper-middle class voters, I feel that it is just as likely to increase the number of voters without computers who can vote at public schools and libraries.  The real issue here is to raise the number of voters - to at least 60% - so that every vote passes or fails with a majority of the voters having some input.

I know that I have not had much time to work on EOTI with all the contract work -- but -- once I can, I think EOTI should sponsor getting an open source voting system built and put into place.  Let me go to some website from home or work and cast my ballot.  Provide me links to the websites of the groups on both sides of the issues.  Give me the resources I need to make voting less of a burden so that it is something I can easily do in the amount of free time I don't really have.

Some of the groups who want open source voting don't want paper receipts because they are worried that you might sell your vote.  You can do that now (someone watching you fill in your mail-in ballot, or you faxing a copy, whatever). I think it is more important to provide a receipt of your vote so that if there is any discrepencies, you can prove fraud quickly and easily.

And it should be open source so that there is a higher chance that someone would catch any fraudulent changes.. no more Mr. Diebold throwing the election on purpose, you have the entire nation's geek squad watching out for any corruption in the code.  And a log showing who made any questionable changes...

And, if at some point it replaced the Diebold machines (even if it just had a scanner attached), it would be much lower cost to purchase and maintain any average computer with internet access than to pay Diebold's extortion fees.

And if I remember right, there was something a few months back about EOTI being able to get a tax break if we pay our employees to write open source software -- so it wouldn't technically be a complete loss financially.


the only way to get the mass public to vote is to appeal to the individuals nature.
we need to allow polling places for voters who don't use computers.
online voting for the couch republic
And mail-in voting for those people who don't have the time to go to the polling places or trust on line voting.
Next is awareness, once a year voting on a specific day, (like maybe November 4th?)
is going to be a huge step because you always know when it's going to happen. Maybe a votor registration with email address for notifications.(NO RELEASING THE INFORMATION TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC)

Posted by Silver on Thu May 25 01:13:00 PDT 2006
I think the only way to get the mass public to vote is to make them feel like their vote will actually make a difference. It doesn't matter what we do, if they think their vote is tossed in a wastebasket.

the once a year thing is difficult, because waiting a year to get something on the ballot could take too long for certain things (like dealing with something happening in 1 month)...

the email address thing is interesting... on one hand, you want to get the notifications to your normal inbox. on the other, you want to ensure that no one else ever sees that email address...  maybe we could do it in such a way that the system doesn't KNOW your address, but manages to get things to you anyways... somehow... like... well, anonymous redirectors don't work, because they still have to maintain your email address...  what if your entire user account is encrypted such that they can't access any of your information without you providing the decryption key -- but then, how does it send a notification...  OH! I got it!  What if the voting thing has an online calendar (ical, xml, whatever) and you could just choose to import it into Outlook, Google Calendar, whatever? Then, your own application is the one emailing you -- not the voting place...?

Posted by Malachi on Thu May 25 01:26:00 PDT 2006
I got to say that I agree with you.  I didn't know there was even going to be a vote until the day it happened! Honestly, I couldn't say that I knew what half of the issues were anyway!

Posted by Sarah on Thu May 25 01:53:00 PDT 2006

I agree and will take it a step further. We should have a "Voting Day" as a federal holiday once a year and give everyone the day off to vote. And for those issues that can't wait we could have a voting snow day.

Posted by Sylkwyrm on Thu May 25 03:06:00 PDT 2006
Having a federal holiday to vote is a good idea... that would help with the constant rush hour traffic / get to ballot before it closes / read what the hell it is about before you have to vote - type of issues.

Posted by Malachi on Thu May 25 03:38:00 PDT 2006

News from the Net

RFID hacking scenarios

A new game from the makers of Puzzle Pirates

A student faces expulsion for blogging during non-school hours -- probably has more to do with him whistleblowing on the administration

Back-to-the-Future car, here we come

It appears that Voyager 2 has figured out that the solar system isn't exactly spherical

The makers of KDE are going public

I'm glad he blew the whistle on them.  Maybe it will bring out some of their crap out in the open.  I used to go to a school where the administration bullied people and did terrible things all of the time to the students and even to the teachers. 

Posted by Sarah on Thu May 25 01:51:00 PDT 2006

24 May 2006

News from the Past

Although 3 years old, I came across this... No, I won't tell you what it's about, you have to go see for yourself :)


I read it!

... and now I'm considering a new career!

Posted by Sylkwyrm on Wed May 24 04:34:00 PDT 2006
Now I know what to do after my major is finished!

Posted by Sarah on Wed May 24 10:24:00 PDT 2006

News from the Net

Google is being accused of Censorship.  This is a tough one... On one hand, the press should not be censored... On the other hand, no one complains if a company removes specific content (like child porn).  Does a company have the right to limit what information they index, or is any removal of content breaking freedom of speech/press?

A new drug has found to help vegetative patients

Hmmm. interesting commentary regarding M$ and their monoculture.

German homes are being raided for filesharing on eDonkey.

A robotic gecko that can climb glass.  If you ever wanted to be spiderman, this might help you make your suit ;)

Now here's some unique protesters

Possible tax break for telecommuters - well, more trying to get rid of the existing double taxation.

A new company is trying to offer 95% of Americans free wifi

A new sensor technology detects the energy levels of a molecule as it rotates, creating a fingerprint

What is DRM? And how do I get a green suite?

Posted by Sylkwyrm on Wed May 24 01:24:00 PDT 2006
DRM is Digital Rights Management. That's things like where Sony (who is currently being sued for it) put a virus on the music CDs so that if you played them on your home computer, it installed a backdoor... although, it is just SUPPOSED to stop you from copying it... the copying it part is the DRM.

Posted by Malachi on Wed May 24 01:26:00 PDT 2006
Bastards! I need a green suite

Posted by Sylkwyrm on Wed May 24 06:37:00 PDT 2006
Gee, the google thing is tough.  I mean, I think they probably have the right to censor as long as they say that they are GOING to do that.  I can understand being pissed if you just got a surprise where some of the information was missing due to censorship and no one told you. 

Posted by Sarah on Wed May 24 01:49:00 PDT 2006
Google may have the *right* to censor, but I thought censorship went against the companies morals. What happened google??

Posted by Sylkwyrm on Wed May 24 01:57:00 PDT 2006
Fuck drm

Posted by WILL POWER! on Wed May 24 01:57:00 PDT 2006
The Google thing isn't exactly censorship. They are choosing not to list certain sites now under their news section, and considering the content I wouldn't exactly call it news either.

Posted by WILL POWER! on Wed May 24 02:01:00 PDT 2006

23 May 2006

A tidbit more News from the Net

So, it appears that the reason that the Diebold systems are insecure is because, using their own wording, "For there to be a problem here, you're basically assuming a premise where you have some evil and nefarious election officials who would sneak in and introduce a piece of software," he said. "I don't believe these evil elections people exist."... um, yeah... of course no one would WANT to rig an election, so there is no reason to stop them from trying... idiot.

For that to happen, there would have to be some sort of corruption in politics!

Posted by Sylkwyrm on Tue May 23 07:10:00 PDT 2006
You know, Politicians are the MOST trustworthy people on the planet! Everyone knows that! Gee Mal, you sure are paranoid.  Maybe we ought to take you to a nice doctor who will give you some drugs!

Posted by Sarah on Wed May 24 01:45:00 PDT 2006
Umm, my degree includes Psychology... why can't I give them to myself?

Posted by Malachi on Wed May 24 02:02:00 PDT 2006

Mini News from the Net

Hmmm. Google's going to start using video ads? Based on what I have seen with myspace (where the ones having videos are exponentially slower to load), this might be a very bad thing

This phone claims to use a "Virtually unbreakable 128-bit key"... virtually unbreakable my ass.

The Department of Energy filed a patent for hydrogen fuel balls... didn't see that coming

Yeah, I got to say I HATE these video ads.  I use my computer at work to go onto my space and they often freeze my computer up. 

Posted by Sarah on Tue May 23 01:50:00 PDT 2006
Wow! I bet that now that the government has patented a better and cheaper form of energy we'll be able to leave the middle east alone and fuel prices will drop! Hydrogen cars that run clean are just around the corner!


Posted by WILL POWER! on Tue May 23 01:59:00 PDT 2006
I'm kinda torn... The Dept of Energy has traditionally given tax breaks to people who buy more efficient things... unlike PGE who charges more for wind and solar power...

but, hard to believe that D.O.E. wouldn't be under the Bush Administration's thumb...

maybe they are just planning on suing anyone who tries to use the tech, thus discouraging its use...  just like how someone bought the patent to a hoverboard in the 70s so they could bury it.

Posted by Malachi on Tue May 23 03:14:00 PDT 2006
I never did get a hover board as a kid!

Posted by Sylkwyrm on Tue May 23 03:49:00 PDT 2006

22 May 2006

News from the Net

The full text of the AT&T NSA Wiretap documents have been released by Wired News to ensure the public knows what is going on

Our new 'US Attorney General' (if you can call him that) has declared that journalists who publish what the government doesn't want them to are criminals. Who needs the 1st amendment, right?

This is interesting... a new type of LCD that allows the focus to change by changing the voltage

Here's one that certain people (don't worry Elaine, I won't name names) should take a gander at... This virus/worm installs a "Safety Browser" that is anything but safe.

oooh. Geometry in air bubbles

Porn sues Government? Well, not porn exactly, just those wanting to profit from it

If you've always like astronomy but didn't think you'd be able to afford to do anything interesting, take a look at what a team of amateur's uncovered

Want to own your own official Star Trek memorabilia?

Pearl Jam is taking the music industry issue to the next level by releasing a music video under a Creative Commons license, which allows anyone to legally copy, distribute and share for noncommercial purposes.

They've finally learned how to clock the movements of atoms. This could be very good for nanobot computing!

NASA wants innovative ideas from you!

Rice University thinks they can predict evolution.... Well, if AI can do it, why not science

Don't get Morgellon's Syndrome or you might not get treated.

A new UK Law may make it illegal for IT professionals to use network security tools


"Our new 'US Attorney General' (if you can call him that) has declared that journalists who publish what the government doesn't want them to are criminals."

So... what country is going to come over and liberate us?

Posted by Sylkwyrm on Mon May 22 02:42:00 PDT 2006
I'm reminded of a skit on the old MTV show The State where there's a class of kids and they are talking about how it's treason to say that you're going to kill the president, even if you're just joking, and every time the words come out of someone's mouth a bunch of men in black rush in and drag them away. "So you mean I can't say, even joking, 'Hey, we should kill the president....' Hey! Let go of me! I was just asking!" Sad that in truth we aren't too far from that.

That Morgellon's Syndrome looks like a bunch of lint balls in the pictures posted on their site. From what they show and for how little they explain what we're seeing in those pics I have say the jury is still out on that insurance scam.

Posted by WILL POWER! on Mon May 22 03:18:00 PDT 2006

19 May 2006

News from the net

Sun is hosting a $100k contest to develop software for the Grid... that is in addition to the 100 Free CPU hours... I have an idea what I should develop... how about you Brett?

Ever wonder what Da Vinci sounded like

Yay! Found a new vacation destination ;)

8 megapixel camera for your cell phone?

More on the AT&T/NSA wire-tap front

You aren't using encryption in the UK, are you?

18 May 2006

News from the Net

Airport Video Surveillance is going hi-tech

The Human Genome sequencing has finally been completed.

IBM/Fuji announced that they can now improve tape storage by 15x. Wonder if it will translate to hard drives.

The FDA is being asked to regulate nanotechnology.  Now, while I understand they should regulate any that go in your food or drugs... what the hell right does the Food and Drug Administration have to regulate using nanotechnology in say my hard drives?

Well...incase you decide to eat your hard drive......???? I guess its just the government trying to get the most qualified party in there!

Posted by Sarah on Thu May 18 08:06:00 PDT 2006
Yum! Hard drive....

Posted by Sylkwyrm on Thu May 18 13:30:00 PDT 2006
Well, SOMEONE has to regulate it, right? :(

Posted by WILL POWER! on Thu May 18 10:26:00 PDT 2006

Political Definitions

I was thinking this morning about how it is common for Republicans to say that saying our government had anything to do with 9/11 is left-wing liberal propaganda and a conspiracy theory that doesn't follow the facts.... that got me to thinking... doesn't anyone remember how to use a dictionary/encyclopedia?

Let's start with the definition of Left-Wing: The people and groups who advocate liberal, often radical measures to effect change in the established order, especially in politics, usually to achieve the equality, freedom, and well-being of the common citizens of a state.
So, by Republicans pointing out that they are NOT the left-wing, they are pointing out that they don't believe in equality, freedom, or the well-being of the common citizen.
In fact, the definition of right-wing points out that the term originally referred to those who supported the interests of aristocracy, which is what I think we still see today.

Conspiracy is An agreement between two or more persons to commit a crime or accomplish a legal purpose through illegal action.
So, unless the Republicans are saying that ONE person actually planned AND flew ALL of the planes, then of course it was a conspiracy.

A Conspiracy theory attempts to explain the cause of an event as a secret, and often deceptive, plot by a covert alliance rather than as an overt activity or as natural occurrence.
Since not everyone agrees on what happens, and no one came out and said "look what I am doing right now out in the open", then ANY explanation of what happened on 9/11 is a conspiracy theory. To get your head straight here -- whether you think that it was Bush or Al'Queda, both possibilities are conspiracy theories.

And last, Ockham's Razor which states: A rule in science and philosophy stating that entities should not be multiplied needlessly. This rule is interpreted to mean that the simplest of two or more competing theories is preferable and that an explanation for unknown phenomena should first be attempted in terms of what is already known.
So, let's look at two competiting theories and see which is the simplest...
1. Al'Queda planned this huge attack on the US; a US undercover agent told the US about it; the US ignored the information from their own agent; they attacked and denied doing it; the United States attempted unsuccessfully to cover up their blunder
2. PNAC did what they said they would do.
Seems to be that the second option sounds a lot simpler.  In case you aren't aware, PNAC is the group that Chaney and others publicly belong to that publicly said during Clinton's administration that they were going to do something like 9/11.  Should I point out again that they PUBLICLY did it?

So, before you ever attempt to call me a left-wing conspiracy nut, I suggest you learn the English language.


Actually, according to your definitions, being a left wing conspiracy nutt isn't all that bad is it? Better than being a aristocratic bastard who's only out for themselves and ignore or fabricate facts.......

Only one person wrote and flew this blog!  

Posted by Sarah on Thu May 18 08:09:00 PDT 2006
Yep, although they weren't my definitions... from the dictionary.. copy/pasted :)

Posted by Malachi on Thu May 18 08:13:00 PDT 2006
Find a larger venue for this posting. Get this word out. Message me if you don't mind me linking this blog, and while you're at it tell me how to link it. I'm retarded and forgot.

Posted by WILL POWER! on Thu May 18 10:25:00 PDT 2006
I never mind if someone links to it... As far as how, the easiest way I have found is:

grab the url from the address bar
rip off the &MyToken=... part at the end
then in your post, click the little icon of a world with chain link

Posted by Malachi on Thu May 18 13:14:00 PDT 2006