Archive for December, 2005

Friday Funday LXX

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet during the previous week.

Russian Climbing Video [del.icio.us]

This is simply amazing. I wish I could do this.

Garfield’s Scary Scavenger Hunt [del.icio.us]

Morah found this one. Also check out Scary Scavenger Hunt II.

EarthCam’s 25 Most Interesting Webcams of 2005 [del.icio.us]

Back in Friday Funday LX, I linked to EarthCam’s 25 Most Interesting Webcams of 2004. Here’s the list for 2005.

Pandafix [del.icio.us]

Need I say more?

Animal Splicer 1.0 [del.icio.us]

Pointless, but entertaining.

How to Irritate the NSA

The other day on BoingBoing, they linked to a New York Times article about how the NSA has a couple of secret listening stations that monitor millions of international phone calls and e-mails =every hour=. Turns out, one of the stations is in Yakima (which, for those who don’t know, is just shy of 200 miles from where I live. The TV station I work for actually broadcasts a signal in Yakima. Morah’s grandparents live there).

One person suggested setting up an international e-mail address and a unique URL and then trying to write e-mails to that address that would get someone at the NSA to follow the URL. The point is, if no one else knows the URL, but someone visits it, not only do you know the NSA is spying on you, but you now know their IP address (assuming the government isn’t using some sort of IP masking or proxy).

Another person pointed out that this might not be such a good idea, as you would surely end up on a watch list, and probably never again be allowed to board a commercial flight.

If you think about it, there’s no way the NSA could feasibly scan millions of e-mails every hour without the process being automated. What most likely happens is that some software quickly scans the e-mail and looks for keywords (this isn’t all that sinister, actually. Google does the same thing when creating the ads for their Gmail). If a certain set of keywords appears (especially when they’re in the right order), the e-mail is flagged and read by a human.

Again, I want to stress that this is only a hypothesis of how it works. I have no idea if I’m even close to right.

So this got me thinking and I started trying to come up with phrases that would send up red flags, but turn out to be harmless. Below is a list of phrases I came up with. I have bolded the “red flag” phrase to help make it clearer.

  • I am going to kill the president of the chess club.
  • Let’s join that group of people who are trying to Google bomb the White House web site with the phrase, ‘miserable failure’.
  • There’s this stupid hedge at the end of my driveway that blocks my view whenever I try to back out. Mark my words, that bush will die by my hands.
  • Saying Delta Burke has talent is like saying I helped plan the 9/11 attacks.
  • The NSA are a bunch of no-talent, flag-burning, commie, pinko, terrorist fags.

I guess that last one wasn’t so benign. At any rate, you can clearly see how, taken out of context, the above examples would probably catch the attention of the NSA. If you can think of any other good ones, post them in the comments.

Feliz Navidad

It’s funny how, as you get older, the things you want for Christmas change. One of the gifts that Morah wanted (and got) this year, was a dust buster. It may seem like an odd request for a gift, but to be honest, it’s going to make cleaning up small messes a whole lot easier.

We both got a bunch of great gifts and Christmas has been happening since last weekend when we had an early Christmas (replete with present-unwrapping) in Clarkston with Morah’s mum. Now I know what Chanukah is like (you know, the whole “eight crazy nights” thing).

Gift I got that will make Brynna jealous: The Wonderfalls DVD.

Irony of gift: It was given to me by her mum.

Kisa (our cat) is one happy camper. This was her first Christmas with us and we got her a five-pack of little dead mice. She’s been going nuts playing with them all day long.

We also went with my family to see the movie The Family Stone. While it was good, Morah and I both felt let down as it was not what we had expected. The previews made it seem like a comedy, and while there were a number of really funny parts, overall it was kind of depressing; especially when you were expecting a comedy.

Hope you had a great Christmas!

Friday Funday LXIX

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet during the previous week.

Another naughty week! Friday Funday Sixty Nine serves up a bevy of non-work-safe links to tickle your… Well, you know.

Movie Titan [del.icio.us]

Loads of movies categorized by genre and some by porn star

Frank’s Adventure [del.icio.us]

The classic Flash (*ahem*) game. Once you beat it, go for Frank’s Adventure 2 and Frank’s Adventure 3.

Galumpia Adult [del.icio.us]

Are these thumbnails from porn pictures or not? Well, on this particular page, none of them are, but you should probably play it safe.

Belladonna’s World [del.icio.us]

A blog by a stripper in New York.

Fleshbot [del.icio.us]

Easily the most popular sex blog on the internet.

What is it about Easter and Christmas? Hmm.

ALLOpod Episode VI – Kris, God, and Ultracold Atomic Physics

ALLOpod Episode VI – Kris, God, and Ultracold Atomic Physics

On and On by Everyday Jones was the song we chose to start out ALLOpod this month.

Though he helped me out with the first thing I ever recorded for ALLOpod, it took until episode six for Kris to be on the show (by the way, the first thing I ever recorded for ALLOpod was the interview with Vote for Pedro in episode one. Kris ran the audio board while I interviewed the band). Emily and I had been wanting to get Kris on the show, but we live on opposite sides of the state, so that has made it pretty impossible.

This month, he happened to be in town, so we finagled him into being on the show. And since he was the guest of honor, we had him get the show going by reading Peter Bowler’s Superior word of the month. We even let him choose the word! He chose the word popinjay. I have no idea why.

The three of us got into a pretty heavy discussion about God and religion based on a conversation Kris and I had earlier that day. The basic idea is that it’s illogical to thank God for your successes and blame him for your failures.

We then talked about the war on Christmas and all agreed that it’s ridiculous that anyone would want anyone else to stop saying Merry Christmas. I know I’m biased, but I think we have a pretty strong argument.

As it turns out, I misattributed my quote about religion being a virus. It was Arthur C. Clark who said, “religion is the most malevolent and persistent of all mind-viruses. We should get rid of it as quick as we can.”

Kris brought up the amazing dinner we had eaten the night before. We went to a restaurant called Marrakesh here in Spokane and it was =amazing=. Kris mentioned feeling guilty about eating lamb, which led to a discussion about production for use (we helped Kris feel better).

All good things must come to an end, and our conversation with Kris was no exception. We wrapped up our conversation with Andrew Burton’s technology haiku:

“christmas 2.0”

i need the new one

this season has expired

christmas 2.0

After the haiku, Emily and I interviewed Colin Connelly, a graduate student at Harvard University. Colin is working toward his PhD in ultracold atomic physics. I have no idea either, but Colin explains it, so you’ll just have to listen. Turns out, it’s pretty dangerous. Colin outlined a number of ways to get hurt (or even die) in the lab. To lighten the mood a bit, he indulged us with a physics joke.

Everyday Jones carried us out of the interview with Here I Am.

And that’s about it for episode six.

Next month’s interview will be with someone. You know you want to tune in.

If you have any questions or comments, or if you want to hear your name mentioned in our shout-outs, e-mail us at: podcast alifelessordinary . If you send us a question or comment, be sure to mention if you want to be included in the shout-outs and if you do, please include your location (for example, “Thomas in Spokane, WA” or “Phoenix in Japan”).

Links:

Everyday Jones [del.icio.us]

PodsafeAudio [del.icio.us]

Kris Boustedt [del.icio.us]

The Superior Person’s Book of Words [del.icio.us]

Stupid Jumping Sheep Video [del.icio.us]

Andrew Burton [del.icio.us]

Throbosho [del.icio.us]

Bruce Schneier: Unchecked Presidential Power

I don’t usually re-post stuff that appears on BoingBoing (at least, not straight away), but this article by Bruce Schneier is too good not to pass on.

If you choose not to read the article, at least consider this quote:

“If the president can ignore laws regulating surveillance and wiretapping, why is Congress bothering to debate reauthorizing certain provisions of the Patriot Act? Any debate over laws is predicated on the belief that the executive branch will follow the law.”

Random Stuff

Suck it, ID.

Episode VI of ALLOpod will be late due to a miscommunication between myself, the interviewee, and a third party. It’s all good, though, and the show will be up ASAP.

Speaking of ALLOpod, I just ran the numbers and the shows (collectively) have been downloaded over 2,000 times!

Friday Funday LXVIII

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet during the previous week.

The Doors [del.icio.us]

No, not the legendary rock band from the ’60s, but a game that makes you think. Once. That’s right, I pretty much only had to really think about one puzzle, but it was still a fun game.

The Infamous Triumph Star Wars Interviews [del.icio.us]

Even if you don’t like Triumph the Insult Dog, you can appreciate this. It had me laughing my ass off.

Reality Clock [del.icio.us]

This page has all sorts of clocks and counters to tell you about the state of affairs all over the world. It’s a good thing this website exists, because now I can keep a close eye on how many gallons of ice cream have been produced in Indiana this year.

VisionStation [del.icio.us]

Wow. Just, wow.

World Cup ’06 Penalty Shootout [del.icio.us]

Choose a team and see if you can win the world cup.

The Remains of the Day 2

Brynna took one of those quiz things and this answer made me laugh out loud:

-Book/movie that you wish had a sequel: Uh, The Remains of the Day comes to mind. A sequel where they finally freakin’ throw down and get it on for crying out loud, instead of all the *angst angst* of wanting with no realease, just a little tease. But of course, that’s what made the story so good, among other things…

I Have Wood!

Kenwood, that is.

Last night Morah and I bought our Christmas present to one another: a much-needed car stereo. It’s fantastic to be able to hear music in the car again! Now we’re all set for our two-hour trip down to Clarkston this weekend. And next time we go to Seattle, the time should pass a lot faster.

The stereo has been broken for so long that I can’t remember when it stopped working. And now we can play CDs and MP3s, so that’s cool. I can’t wait to play with it some more.

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