Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Next Sex Symbol: Pot-Bellied Men

It's been a while since I babbled about something I saw on the Tyra Banks show. This episode just begs for comments.

According to the show, the latest in sexiness for men is the pot belly. Apparently it has to do with Jack Black and Seth Rogen (from Knocked Up and Zack and Miri Make a Porno[1]). There's a couple of others as well.

Anyway, it seems there are women who like thicker guys. It would be the gender opposite of "baby got back" girls, I'd say. Now, I am a tad think around the middle but my pot belly is more a matter of abdomen muscles that get no exercise than the excess tonnage. Still, it would be nice to meet a girl that didn't mind a little extra cushion.

Any ladies out there need something snugly to curl up next to? :-)

[1] This was the movie that solidified Elizabeth Banks as my latest and greatest celebrity love.
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Friday, January 29, 2010

Bee My Friend? Depends on Your Face

Bee My Friend? Depends on Your Face By Lauren Effron | Fri Jan 29, 2010 03:03 PM ET - "Bees can be trained to sniff out explosives and cocaine, and here's something else they can be trained to do: tell apart one human face from another, according to a study published in the February issue of Journal of Experimental Biology."

Could this be the next airport screening tool?
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Games Blamed for Rickets Upsurge in U.K.

Games Blamed for Rickets Upsurge in U.K. Posted January 22, 2010 by David Radd - "While gaming is often blamed for increased obesity in young people, another childhood disease is being brought up by British doctors: rickets. Times Online is reporting that an article in the British Medical Journal is saying that rickets is becoming “disturbingly common” among British children."

Ok everyone! Stop playing games and spending all day on Facebook or you'll die!

Well, maybe not. Since it's been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that video games do NOT cause violence and suicide we have to find something else to blame them for. You know it couldn't be due to the fact that kids don't eat right and it is easier to have the TV/Computer babysit than make them go out and play.

Yes, I'm being grumpy.
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Microsoft Finds Indiscreet Sharing Costs Jobs

Microsoft Finds Indiscreet Sharing Costs Jobs By Thomas Claburn | InformationWeek | January 27, 2010 06:44 PM - "In anticipation of Data Privacy Day on Thursday, January 28, Microsoft has released research showing how indiscreet publication of information online can prevent Internet users from getting jobs.

According to a December survey of 2,500 consumers, human resources managers and recruitment professionals, 70% of the HR respondents from the U.S. said they had rejected job applicants because of information found through an online search. Among U.S. consumers, only 7% believe online data has affected their efforts to get hired.
"

All those teens and 20-somethings with their pictures of drunken revelry on their MySpace and Facebook profiles are going to be in for a rude awakening soon.
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Comets Caused Differences in Jupiter’s Moons

Comets Caused Differences in Jupiter’s Moons January 27, 2010 by Michael Hickerson || Category: Space News - "Scientists have taken a step closer to explaining why Jupiter’s moons are so different from each other.

A new study, published in the Nature Geoscience journal report, says that Jupiter’s Ganymede likely endured a double blasting of comets 3.8 billion years ago, explaining its difference from twin moon, Callisto.
"

More cool stuff from space. You know, when I was a kid Jupiter only had 12 moons. Did it make rest in the intervening 40 years? No. Telescopes and other measuring devices just got better. The down side to it is we lost Pluto.
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Monday, January 25, 2010

Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Faces “Substantial Risk”

Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Faces “Substantial Risk” By Colin Clark Wednesday, January 20th, 2010 12:40 pm - "In a fabulous concurrence of conflicting signals, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said he doesn’t expect the Joint Strike Fighter program to incur cost overruns large enough for it to breach the Nunn-​​McCurdy threshold, which could have meant disastrous publicity for the plane. Schwartz also said the Pentagon has a plan to aggressively reduce program risk, increasing testing and slowing the move to production. But the annual report from the director of Operational Test and Evaluation paints a very different picture, saying the program faces “substantial risk” over the next two years."

This is what happens when bean counters and bureaucrats make military decisions. The orders for F-22's are cut because the JSF is going to be the "next big thing." But the JSF program is, well, let's just say dicey. Non military pundits ask whether we need these ungodly expensive fighters. The answer is a resounding "Yes!" The F-22 and F-35 are beyond next generation fighters. One F-22 can take on 10 or 15 of the worlds best fighters and dust them fairly easily. The F-35 has equal abilities plus a number of newer capabilities that give it more of a range across the battlefield.

Now, I'm not saying that there should be no oversight of these programs. That's how we got those $500 toilet seats. But it shouldn't be all about the money either.

When did rational thought and common sense become liabilities?
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Saturday, January 23, 2010

The 3 Facebook Settings Every User Should Check Now

The 3 Facebook Settings Every User Should Check Now By SARAH PEREZ of ReadWriteWeb
Published: January 20, 2010 - "In December, Facebook made a series of bold and controversial changes regarding the nature of its users' privacy on the social networking site. The company once known for protecting privacy to the point of exclusivity (it began its days as a network for college kids only - no one else even had access), now seemingly wants to compete with more open social networks like the microblogging media darling Twitter."

These settings should be checked on a regular basis. One of the concepts that even longtime 'Net users have trouble handling is how utterly permanent data is and how easy it is for anyone to find. There are some people I know who, at first glance, seem overly paranoid about the Internet. But once you dig deeper into the technological and legal aspects of it you find that even they aren't paranoid enough.
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Friday, January 22, 2010

Berlusconi moves to impose Internet regulation

Berlusconi moves to impose Internet regulation By COLLEEN BARRY, AP Business Writer – Fri Jan 22, 2:06 pm ET - MILAN – "Silvio Berlusconi is moving to extend his grip on Italy's media to the freewheeling Internet world of Google and YouTube.

Going beyond other European countries, the premier's government has drafted a decree that would mandate the vetting of videos for pornographic or violent content uploaded by users onto such sites as YouTube, owned by Google, and the France-based Dailymotion, as well as blogs and online newsmedia.
"

More scary stuff from the world of greedy tyrants. Between the corporations and the governments, the 'Net is going to become unreachable/unusable for 98% of the world population. They want to control it and use it to suck out as much money as they can.

And it looks like they are winning.
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

From the "To stupid it has to be true" department...

The blaring headline reads: Scott Baio Under Twitter Fire for Michelle Obama Dis

Seems Scott tweeted an unflattering twitter post aimed at the first lady. Now he's getting death threats. Death threats?!? He posted a joke which I, personally, thought was dumb and only marginally funny. But it was obviously a joke. The (l)users posting insults and threats should not be allowed access to the 'Net. Hell, they shouldn't be allowed out of their cells.

This is getting boring. I'm going to bed.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Diamond Oceans Possible on Neptune, Uranus

Diamond Oceans Possible on Neptune, Uranus January 20, 2010 by Michael Hickerson - "A new article in the journal Nature Physics says that there could be oceans of liquid diamonds with floating diamond icebergs on Neptune and Uranus."

Man, if this isn't exciting. Just the idea of a diamond lake, or even ocean, is incredible. In every sense of the word. I wonder what it would be like to model a solid diamond vessel on a liquid diamond sea. Can you imagine all the variables that would need to align?
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In epic upset, GOP's Brown wins Mass. Senate race

In epic upset, GOP's Brown wins Mass. Senate race | By GLEN JOHNSON and LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writers | BOSTON – "In an epic upset in liberal Massachusetts, Republican Scott Brown rode a wave of voter anger to win the U.S. Senate seat held by the late Edward M. Kennedy for nearly half a century, leaving President Barack Obama's health care overhaul in doubt and marring the end of his first year in office."

This is a good thing.

Now, before everyone gets all bent, let me explain.

The political system in the US has seen it's ups and downs over the last 234 years. Just read your American history books for some very interesting (see: Chinese Curse) episodes of corruption and turmoil. The last 30 or 40 years have seen our system get all discombobulated where we have ended up with two parties that are equally as bad as the other. Neither one has any interest in doing what is right for the country or its citizens. And let me interrupt you here. No, your party is absolutely not the better one. They care for nothing except money and power. Their sole purpose is to crush the other guys. They do not care how much damage they cause; how many people they hurt. They see the people as being one of two things; a cow (i.e. registered voter) or a mosquito (i.e. non-registered dirt).

By now some1 might be seething in anger at my "tirade" against their wonderful party. They are fools! Fools blindly following the bullshit being spoon fed to them for the specific purpose of keeping them devoid of rational thought. This is accomplished by using the media, of course. Not in the way everyone tends to think, though. Any conspiracies between politics and the media are fairly small and of little impact. No, the media is working its own agenda. What could that be? Money and power. You think not? Try dissecting any news broadcast objectively. See if the news is presented to you by the networks. You will find that the news is presented for you. There is a subtle difference there. The former means the news is relayed, unfiltered to you as it happens/happened. The latter comes to you after being "adjusted" by the opinions of the reporters, the network, and everyone else who can put their own ideas and personal biases into the news. The media no longer reports the news, they make the news.

At this point I can hear the question, "What does this have to do with the Mass. election?" Simply this; our government cannot be run by a majority from any political party. No party should have control over the government of the US. When one side has a "mandate" they will make a debacle of everything they touch. Just look at the last century and see for yourself.

Side note: One might get the impression that I am extremely cynical and have anarchistic ideas. Nothing could be further from the truth. I admit that our political system is flawed. Hell, it is broken. But when compared to anything else on the planet, it is damn near Utopian. As long as there is a balance in the political realm, things can, and usually do, get better.

So there you have it. That is why it's a good thing that Scott Brown won the election.

[For those who might wish to debate this post, I've been through this many times with many people. However, feel free to give it a go. I am not adverse to changing my views if presented by logical, thoughtful, insightful arguments. It wouldn't be the first time its happened.]

1. That is if there really is anyone who reads these babblings
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

USIIA Bulletin - Avoiding Haiti Aid Scams

This is some pertinent and timely information from the US Internet Industry Association Bulletin.
======================================================== 
USIIA Bulletin       January 19, 2010       Volume 10:02
======================================================== 
[...]
********************************************************
Avoiding Haiti Aid Scams
********************************************************

As the world looks for ways to help the victims of Haiti's 
earthquake, the FBI is now warning that there are also 
those who are looking for opportunities set up scams 
surrounding the latest disaster relief efforts.

The FBI advises that people should be very skeptical of any 
unsolicited appeals they receive or find on the Internet.

One month after Hurricane Katrina, the FBI said it was 
suspicious of most of the 4,600 Web sites soliciting money 
on behalf of those victims. Within an hour of the World 
Trade Center attacks, scam sites popped up on the Web 
according to ScamBusters.org.

Here are some tips from the FBI, Scam.Busters and the Better
Business Bureau on how to make sure your money goes to 
people in need. 

• Be skeptical if someone e-mails you or contacts you 
through social networking sites claiming to be a quake 
victim or a government or charity official and asks for 
donations, the FBI says. Also, the agency says, do not 
click on any links within those e-mails. And do not click 
on attached files labeled photos or video because they 
may contain viruses.

• It's OK to be suspicious. Ask for the name, phone 
number and address of the charity. The American Institute 
of Philanthropy says honest charities encourage you to 
know about them and respond to your questions. Also, 
request that they put the information in writing.

• However, do not give them your personal or financial 
information, because that may leave you vulnerable to 
identity theft.

• Don't be misled by a charity name that "sort of sounds 
familiar." Scammers may change one word in the title to 
trick you.

• Ask if the charity is registered with any organization 
and get the registration number. Check for the 
organization on Web sites such as the Better Business 
Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance, or Charity Navigator.org. 

• Ask what percentage of the money you give actually 
reaches the needy. You also can designate how your 
donation is to be used.

• Don't ever donate cash. Make the check out to the name 
of the charity, not the person asking for money. And get 
a receipt with the name of the charity on it. Do NOT 
give your credit card number to telemarketers or use it 
on a Web site of a charity you have not checked out.

• If the person seeking your donation asks you to give 
more, that may be a sign that something is wrong. 
Legitimate charities are grateful, not demanding.

SOURCE: CNN

Attack Code Used to Hack Google Now Public

Attack Code Used to Hack Google Now Public By Robert McMillan, IDG News Service | "The dangerous Internet Explorer attack code used in last month's attack on Google's corporate networks is now public."

Can anyone tell me why Microsoft products are still allowed on the Internet? While no software is 100% safe, there's a minimum standard that most non-MS software can meet. If there was a way to take every bit of Microsoft software offline for one day you wouldn't believe how much fewer attacks and vriuses and threats there would be.

I have said this many, many times before but here it is again. If you must use Microsoft applications, do not run them on any version of Microsoft Windows. If you must run some version of Microsoft Windows, do not run any Microsoft applications.
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Saturday, January 16, 2010

AP Exclusive: Network flaw causes scary Web error

AP Exclusive: Network flaw causes scary Web error | By JORDAN ROBERTSON, AP Technology Writer Jordan Robertson, Ap Technology Writer – Sat Jan 16, 11:31 am ET | SAN FRANCISCO – "A Georgia mother and her two daughters logged onto Facebook from mobile phones last weekend and wound up in a startling place: strangers' accounts with full access to troves of private information.

The glitch — the result of a routing problem at the family's wireless carrier, AT&T — revealed a little known security flaw with far reaching implications for everyone on the Internet, not just Facebook users.
"

I am all over computer technology. It is my vocation and my avocation. After a good day of code hacking I relax by doing more code hacking. It's like play, not work. Being stuck at home 98% of the time I live on the 'Net. Got this blog, am on Facebook, have more email addresses than I can manage. I do shopping and managed bank accounts online.

That being said, there's no way I would ever claim that this computer/Internet stuff is safe. What, you ask? How can I say this after going on about how I live online? Easy. I weigh the risk vs the benefit. I take basic precautions and try to keep the bits and bytes flying around out there on point. I could go all paranoid and lock everything down tighter than a drum. Did that for a while but there is a lot of effort needed for that kind of thing.

Well, it seems I lost my train of thought. Basically, the bottom line of this commentary is that never think you are safe and secure when you're online. Us techies are working to make it better but there's still allot to do.
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Friday, January 15, 2010

Post-Underwear-Bomber Airport Security

Post-Underwear-Bomber Airport Security Crypto-Gram Newsletter | January 15, 2010 | by Bruce Schneier - "In the headlong rush to "fix" security after the Underwear Bomber's unsuccessful Christmas Day attack, there's been far too little discussion about what worked and what didn't, and what will and will not make us safer in the future.

The security checkpoints worked. Because we screen for obvious bombs, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab -- or, more precisely, whoever built the bomb -- had to construct a far less reliable bomb than he would have otherwise. Instead of using a timer or a plunger or a reliable detonation mechanism, as would any commercial user of PETN, he had to resort to an ad hoc and much more inefficient homebrew mechanism: one involving a syringe and 20 minutes in the lavatory and we don't know exactly what else. And it didn't work.
"

Bruce is one of the leading experts on security, especially in the technology field. His newsletter has some of the best analysis of what is being done right and what is, as described on Attack of the Show, an epic fail. If you would like to read intelligent, rational and realistic explanation of what is really happening out there then this is something you need to read.
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

More flash drive firms admit to security flaws

More flash drive firms admit to security flaws January 14, 2010 — 10:38am ET | By Paul Mah - "In the wake of last week's news that some of Kingston's secure flash drives have underlying flaws, more manufacturers have stepped forward saying they suffer from similar issues. So far, Verbatim and SanDisk have revealed that similar security flaws exist on some of their secure USB flash drives. Both companies issued online application upgrades to address the problem, though it is unclear how a software update can resolve what appears to be a fundamental design flaw."

Sometimes I wonder where the technology intelligence went in the technology industry. This is probably another case of profit margins over product quality. Or some doofus was working the usual half-assed effort.
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There but for the grace of God...

As bad as my life can suck sometimes, it is still much better than the majority of people on the planet. Maybe someday, some way I can give back to karma what I have received. That being the 85% good I've had throughout my life.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sometimes you just gotta say, what the f...

The other day I was thinking about how much time and energy is wasted by people on things that are irrelevant or inconsequential. The thought came to me while watching a short documentary on gay marriage. It's one example of useless waste. Others are abortion, politics, race, ad nauseum. There are thousands of people who get all bent about one "side" or other on these kind of topics. In the case of gay marriage, it really doesn't make any sense at all. Follow me on this...

- Some gay people want to legally marry.
- Some other people are against the idea.

So what's the primary reason the naysayers have against gay marriage? It's immoral/unnatural.

Yeah. Right.

First off, whose morality is the yardstick for measurement? Most often this is a religious position. Ok, fine. So which religion will be THE religion? Oops! Now we're into another topic where everyone is wasting time fighting over. Ok, so the second reason for the uproar is it's culturally and socially wrong. Now we're into another range of topics that are ultimately indefinable. Whose culture? Which society? "Ours" you say? Who is "us?"

If gay marriage is immoral enough to be legally prohibited, shouldn't adultery also be? How about using the lords name in vane? A $500 fine every time you say "God" or "Jesus" outside of an approved prayer. And premarital sex? Can't legally marry unless you are a virgin on your wedding day. Oh, and oral sex will get you 30 days in jail no matter what kind of relationship you're in. Even if you're married. You see how this just spirals out of control?

If you strip away all the hysterical crap and look at it rationally you'll see that gay marriage is no different than interracial or interfaith marriage. Because of this similarity it will be legalized eventually. It's inevitable. So why are people spending their lives ranting and protesting and petitioning about something that is already a fait accompli? Might as well just bang your head against a wall instead. The truly sad thing is that if all this time and energy were put to constructive uses there would probably be a cure for cancer or something similar. Just a fraction of said effort could solve the economic situation. Hell, world piece wouldn't be inconceivable.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Up the river delta

Got mail working on the server. Looks like someone needs a refresher on tcpwrappers.