|log (2004/09/03 to 2004/09/09)|
Thursday, September 9, 2004
Three contentful pieces from USA Today (of all places) about how the bad guys take over innocent computers, and what they then make them do. (Note the URL of that first one while you're there; heh heh.)
The other day someone whose opinion I respect, and who has more reason to know than 99.9% of us, said with some confidence that most spam is now sent through email relays installed on compromised ("zombie") machines, many (most?) of them home Windows systems with broadband connections.
Isn't that bizarre?
So while there are still all too many dodgy ISPs out there, trying their best to look like good citizens to their upstream connections while selling spamming services to sleazy types downstream, most of the spam that you get in your mailbox (or that your ISP spends your monthly fees on blocking) is sent from someone's Aunt Sadie's Windows XP machine in the den, attached to a plug-and-play DSL modem, with a potted Christmas cactus sitting on top of the display, and with no security patches installed.
(Thanks to the not-on-the-web Bill for the original USA Today link.)
Have you ever heard of the "Hua Hu Ching"? There was a passing reference to it in "The Barn at the End of the World", and there are mentions on the web (but not apparently in Wikipedia); here's a putative copy for instance.
So is it real (i.e. old and stuff)? Is it authentic (thought to have some connection to Lao Tzu)? Is it good (I haven't had time to read any significant bits of it yet)?
One of the reasons I've had so little time to write here (or read the Hua Hu Ching or do much of anything else) this week is that the little daughter has started High School; and on some oddball theory that High School kids might want to have time for part-time jobs in the late afternoon or something, High School starts absurdly early, and me and her are therefore getting up at five fifty-five in the ack emma, which (even in mere September) is before dawn and also real early. So we've been trying to get her into bed with the light out by ten pee em, and M and I have been trying not to stay up much later than that ourselves.
Which doesn't leave much time for late-night writing, or thinking, or watching Babylon 5 DVDs or anything.
I do mostly like sleeping, though. Which is good.
Maybe I should just make this a weekly weblog. Although "whenever I feel like" is pretty good, too.
I think I'd post more if I could reconcile my conflicting desires for a locally-mastered weblog and one that I can post to from any random computer that's lying around. But they're pretty irreconcilable.
(The argument is that finding that one is, say, one of the first ten billion humans born is, Bayesianly, reason to think that it's comparatively unlikely that there will eventually be trillions and trillions of people in the universe. My initial reaction is that this is based on a specious "random assignment of consciousnesses to bodies" model that I have no reason to sign up for, but it's still an interesting little object of an interesting little class.)
Subject: Marvelous billionth We called you, no answer enforceable
And how, Azazello, how? And when?
Voting machines behaving badly: "The Diebold GEMS central tabulator contains a stunning security hole":
By entering a 2-digit code in a hidden location, a second set of votes is created. This set of votes can be changed, so that it no longer matches the correct votes. The voting system will then read the totals from the bogus vote set. It takes only seconds to change the votes, and to date not a single location in the U.S. has implemented security measures to fully mitigate the risks.
Hm, and while we're on the subject here's another one:
Unfortunately for the industry, during its roll to record profits, DRE's have been demonstrated as vulnerable to fraud by voting technology experts while the machines themselves have demonstrated a tendency to go haywire in numerous elections, including last spring's election in California in which many Diebold DRE's malfunctioned and may have disenfranchised thousands of voters. Events like the California crash have led scientists, lawmakers, and concerned citizens to argue for a paper trail system so voters can see their vote was cast properly and election officials can perform recounts if necessary. However, the industry apparently views the paper trail movement as an obstacle to widening its profit margin, and the paper trail itself as a risky proposition that could add to its public relations headache by providing further evidence of faultiness of the its technology.
So there's this Beach Boys song called "Kokomo", about going to all sorts of exotic tropical places (Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty Mamma), and the title is because "off the Florida Keys there's a place called Kokomo". Right?
But as far as I've been able to tell from the Web, Kokomo is in Indiana (not exactly exotic and tropical), and all the places in Florida called "Kokomo" are named after the Beach Boys song. Which seems odd. Was there in fact a Kokomo in or near Florida when Brian Wilson (or whoever) wrote that song? Or were they being cute putting an Indiana city into the ocean? Inquiring minds want to know.
"Upon reaching enlightenment, Gautama touched the earth, calling it to bear witness to the countless lifetimes of virtue that led him to this place of enlightenment..." - same earth !
Is there a one-to-one correspondence between half the universe and the whole universe? Or between iris chacon pictures and pictures of cat pictures?