Efforts to understand, improve, or do less harm to the world around me.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wikileaks defense

After the release of diplomatic cables that didn't seem to have anything to do with anything apart from embarrassing the US, I was under the impression that Wikileaks was dedicated simply anti-US sentiment.  The question of how to rebuke or prevent Wikileaks from doing this came up.  However:
  1. Wikileaks itself has not so far broken any laws.  Although laws may have been broken by individuals who leaked the information, Wikileaks has exposed secrets to all, including those who were keeping the secret.  This is journalism, not warfare.
  2. Embarrassing those in power is all leaks have ever done.  Attacks against leaks have always centered around an anti-nation or anti-those-in-power bias.  Wikileaks and its activities are nothing new or unique.
  3. A leak does not have to contain incriminating information.  Ostensibly, the point of leaking information that's subversive, criminal, or immoral is to prevent it or seek justice from who have committed these acts.  Those who are glad that Deep Throat leaked information about Nixon or Daniel Ellis leaked information about the Vietnam War would say those were justified and important leaks.  However, in legal and journalistic terms, its difficult to define a justified or unjustified leak. 
Assage himself has said that he believes he is being separated from association with the press, despite membership in press organizations for many years.  The real danger is that Wikileaks is successfully censored or its members assassinated and that, in the future, terrible crimes will go unreported.

Some have come to the organization's defense:
Others have not.  Possible 2012 Presidential candidates have called Wikileaks director a terrorist (Mike Huckabee) and flip-flopped on his status as good or evil (Sarah Palin).


Note that one of the diplomatic leaks has been about Monsanto's dangerous products, so the issue more than just about embarrassment.  However, the point still stands.

Idiot Pilot

Every time I seem to be moving away from the entire genre of rock, a band seems to come along that draws me back.  This time it was Idiot Pilot.  The video's audio isn't synced correctly, but its the music I mean to point to.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Orson Wells on Cold Reading

A fascinating story about how the famous director was a fortune teller for a day and what he learned from it.

Chinatown (1974) movie review

This is one of those movies that's impacted by current events.  Some movies get better over time, this one seems to have gotten worse.

When the fundamental storyline of a movie is that a rich man gets away with raping an underage girl created by a director who is a rich man who got away with raping an underage girl?  I guess the analysis that if you're not willing to see a movie or read a book made by a shitty person, you're missing out on a lot of good stuff.  Hunter S. Thompson, according to his biography, beat his wife, but I still enjoy his work.  Hemmingway was by all accounts a self-important douchebag, but undoubtedly part of the soul of American bravado.

Its a great movie.  Nicholson is fantastic.  In terms of cinematography, its unmatched by almost anything I've seen, save Touch of Evil (1958).  Amazon reviews are sparkling.

Despite all that, when the movie was over, I just felt sick to my stomach; I hated it.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Cigarettes bad for everyone always

Although I don't generally mind cigarette smoke, the strongest language yet from the surgeon general just came out.

Pretty much if you see someone smoking, you should get them with the fire extinguisher.  Its win-win.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Oh yeah don't go in there

Honestly, its not helpful to tell people there's a trap ahead and to watch their step.  Really, if you're going to set a trap, you shouldn't advertise it.

Thieves everywhere feel talked-down to.

Take comfort in THIS.

This image was -- no joke -- actually on a Starbucks location front door.  What corporate dipstick thought this would be a good idea?  It couldn't possibly be creepy and a subliminal "buy more on schedule" message?

Here's a to take comfort in: hating on Starbucks.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Just two things

An old email I ran across, inspired by an Internet forward/survey thing a few years ago:

Two names you go by:
  1. Mr. Smooth
  2. Mr. Fantastic
Two things you are wearing right now:
  1. Germs
  2. Robust air of authority
Two things you would like to have in a relationship:
  1. No scrubs
  2. No abrasive cleansers
Two of your favorite things to do:
  1. Tell people they're majestic.
  2. Pointing at myself in the mirror and saying "who's that guy?"
Two things you want very badly at the moment:
  1. To somehow capture the leprechan so I can have his pot-o-gold
    without having him make that "so do you have any Irish in you?" joke.
  2. Lots of counterfeit money labeled "counterfeit" because I so love irony.
Two pets you had/have:
  1. My imaginary dragon friend. His name is Teri. I don't like that
    name but it wasn't really my decision.
  2. My pet rock that looks like Steven Tyler. His name is also Teri,
    which is confusing.
Two things you did last night:
  1. Didn't get any.
  2. Made up for my inadequacies by boasting about my fancy hat.
Two things you ate today:
  1. My pride.
  2. The law.
Two people you last talked to:
  1. Teri
  2. Teri
Two things you're doing tomorrow:
  1. The same thing I do every night ... try to start a fire with my mind.
  2. Get a lighter after 17 minutes of abject failure.
Two longest car rides:
  1. After I broke up with Alanis Morsette
  2. Going home from work after finding out she was rich.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

How to eff up a sexual assault investigation

Having seen this for myself in other places with assault victims who are intimidated into silence, it seems another bad handling of a rape case has surfaced, this time by Notre Dame.  Its reported handling of a charge related to a football player shouldn't just be bad public relations, it should be an attack on the school that ends when they modify how they deal with assault victims, open up the details of the case to public scrutiny, and apologize if the accusations are true.  The prosecutor in the case is keeping this topic alive and going after some of her attackers like a Mr. Sean O'Sea.  If Sean had a sister who got raped, he might be a little less interested in pointing out a the victim had depression and that another public case of sexual assault was a hoax.  Its a little too straw man to even comment on.  Encouraging others not to rush to judgment while you rush to judgment?  Nice one, Sean.

Although the victim (according to what the prosecutor listed) did everything right, the lesson here is get a good lawyer as quickly as possible.  Sadly, the people you think should be there to help you may not.

Fortunately, an investigation is ongoing.

See also: RAINN tips and legislation to help protect rape victims.

Mozilla Seabird phone

This is just a concept, but its an astoundingly cool idea.  Even if the phone doesn't come to be, it looks like Mozilla is going to be one of the real technology innovators out there.

Cut government programs, just not MY programs

A permanent problem in government it seems, even with the anti-big government Tea Party.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Leaked information from China diplomats

Not really, but its definitely entertaining and probably somewhat accurate.

Simple file share: isendr.com

If you quickly and easily want to transfer something from one computer to another, you'd be hard pressed to find something simpler.  iSendr doesn't require any uploading of a file to a distant server, just a peer-to-peer transfer from one place to another.  The connection is one-time-use only.

It requires that the machine sending the file is online and available so this is primarily for "live" transfers.  I haven't tested it on larger files.

Beating the developers at their own game

We've been playing CoD: Modern Warfare 2 for quite a while now, so we were pleased when we beat their time.

Obviously some other people have already beat this (some by quite a bit), but its was a nice feeling. 

Sidenote: until looking up a few of the competing times, I had no idea there was a sentry gun on top of the other restaurant.