Santas gone wild

Forty Santas, many drunk, went on the rampage in Wellington, New Zealand.

Apparently there's a growing "Santarchy" movement, though most participants decry the sort vandalism that occurred in New Zealand. Wikipedia says that the first "SantaCon" was put on by The Cacophony Society - the loose inspiration for "Project Mayhem" of Chuck Palahniuk's novel Fight Club.

Bush admists to killing tens of thousands - 100 9/11s.

Reuters reports that George W. Bush admitted today that his Iraq policy has killed 30,000 Iraqis. Other estimates that take all war-related "excess deaths" into account (those from disease, malnutrition, and so on) put the civilian death toll as high as 100,000.

Remember that the 9/11 murders killed fewer than 3,000 Americans. And remember that Iraq has a population of only about 1/10 that of the U.S. In proportion, then, Bush's illegal, immoral, and stupid invasion has inflicted between 100 and 300 9/11s worth of deaths on Iraq (and about 2/3rd of a 9/11 on American troops).

Our changing world

The Earth's North magnetic pole is moving south at an accelerated rate, meaning that Alaska could lose the "Northern Lights" inside of fifty years.

And a 37-mile long fissure that split open in September in the Afar desert in Ethiopia could be the "birth of a new ocean basin," though that will take millions rather than tens of years.

These are reminders that our planet is on the move, that what we think of as "solid ground" is just an illusion of short timescales.

Richard Pryor dies at 65

Richard Pryor has left us.

Just last Friday, I was watching Stir Crazy, the Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor comedy about two New Yorkers who end up in a southwestern prison rodeo. It's one of those films that my whole family loves and quotes, such as Wilder's line about an ax murderer: "No one has ever just sat down and talked with that man", or Pryor's "That's right, we bad."

Human health linked to the health of the planet. Duh.

Reuters reports on a World Health Organization report tying human health to the health of the ecosystem:

"Human health is strongly linked to the health of ecosystems, which meet many of our most critical needs," Maria Neira, director of WHO's Department of Protection of the Human Environment told a news conference at the launch of a new report.

As the kids say: uh, duh? Like you hadn't figured this out a long time ago?

Amusing password masking social hack

bash.org is a website that collects amusing snippets from IRC discussions. I found this little bit of social engineering quite amusing:

<Cthon98> hey, if you type in your pw, it will show as stars
<Cthon98> ********* see!
<AzureDiamond> hunter2
<AzureDiamond> doesnt look like stars to me
<Cthon98> <AzureDiamond> *******
<Cthon98> thats what I see
<AzureDiamond> oh, really?
<Cthon98> Absolutely
<AzureDiamond> you can go hunter2 my hunter2-ing hunter2
<AzureDiamond> haha, does that look funny to you?

More from the "war on sharing"

Slashdot refers us to this BBC story about the Music Publishers' Association trying to shut down web sites with music lyrics and scores, including wanting to lock people in cages for sharing the words to songs.

Somehow, it all seems...familiar. Back in 1998, I was interviewed for a piece in the Baltimore Sun about an attack on OLGA, the on-line guitar archive, where musicians share their interpretations of songs, by the Harry Fox Agency.

Excuse me while I repeat myself: Music is not a crime. Music is all about sharing. Performers share with the audience and performers share with each other. That's the folk tradition. We now have a new technology of information that renders the old laws obsolete. We need laws that recognize that the sharing of information is what makes us human.

Carl Ellison's padlock

My first job out of graduate school was working at Trusted Information Systems, where I met some of the top people in the information security field. I briefly shared an office with cryptography guru Carl Ellison; I came across a great little story on his web site today:

I had this great bicycle, once. I kept it in the walkway under my rowhouse in the Federal Hill neighborhood of Baltimore, locked behind a solid wooden gate. To protect it, I went out and bought a hefty padlock. The lock cost a fair amount, but my peace of mind was worth it...

Hillary Clinton - I'm becoming more and more glad she's unelectable

As previously noted, despite her appointment by the media as a front-runner, Hillary Clinton is very unlikely to be elected president.

Given her refusal to resist the invasion and occupation of Iraq, that doesn't bother me at all, I've just been hoping that the Democrats will get serious and find a better candidate. (Both for president and for her Senate seat.)

Comes now news that makes me want to see her off the scene even more: she's co-sponsoring yet another attempt to make an end-run around the First Amendment in the form of a "flag protection" act. We can do without yet another Republican in Democrat's clothing.

Worst president ever?

>Columnist Richard Reeves considers the question: is W the worst U.S. president ever?

The History News Network at George Mason University has just polled historians informally on the Bush record. Four hundred and fifteen, about a third of those contacted, answered -- maybe they were all crazed liberals -- making the project as unofficial as it was interesting. These were the results: 338 said they believed Bush was failing, while 77 said he was succeeding. Fifty said they thought he was the worst president ever.

BTW, I find it helps take a tiny little bit of the sting out of enduring this administration if you say "worst president ever" in a Comic Book Guy voice...try it and see if you don't feel just a little better.

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