I'm somewhat puzzled (if not surprised) by the various people
who have been posting to weblogs and comments threads and stuff
saying that this is all a big fuss over nothing, because although
"annoy" isn't well-defined "abuse" and "threaten" and "harass"
are (so that's okay), and that the government probably wouldn't
use this law for anything bad anyway (that's a relief, eh?).
Nice to know that such innocence still exists in the world,
in a way.
understand we're at war -- with an enemy?
And speaking of innocence and stuff, here's
a list of
launch points; places where Windows looks for instructions to
run stuff when the system starts.
Seventy-eight of them.
Rather a large number, really.
A reader writes:
um... 48 quid at amazon for a second hand copy of
"Marianne, the Madame, and the Momentary Gods" ?
You have expensive taste :-) Oh, yeah, I remember the codex,,,
It took me awhile to figure out what a "quid" is (turns
out to be the same as a "pound sterling", which turns out
to be the same as a "pound", which is the British basic
unit of currency; seven quid make one nevis, or
Note, though, that I didn't pay 48 quid
for anything, that's just (roughly) what some people on
Amazon and eBay were asking.
I paid I-forget (but probably less than one quid) for
"M, the M, and the M Gs" some years ago, and I paid US$0.99,
which is about 0.55 quid (plus shipping and handling), for
"M, the M, and the M", which hasn't come yet but I
(Note the important decimal points in those last two
I must ardently thank the reader, though (or also), for
because we had forgotten all about it.
Turns out that "read just a few pages at a time, over a
long period, in order to savor it" all too easily becomes
"forget about it entirely".
So this evening I took my copy of the Codex out of
the neat locked glass-fronted cabinet that it lives in,
and read (well, not "read") experienced quite a few pages
It was, again, amazingly wonderful.
From the mysterious HTML o' the Day:
marks a return to the famous GUINNESS campaign endline, "Good things come
to those who wait". It tells the story of mankind's 3 billion year wait
for the perfect pint.
which is really quite cool.
And also from the same source and also recommended:
What is your dangerous idea?,
And also let's see.
I've posted some more Sims
for the last few days the little boy has been playing Battle
for Middle Earth on the machine where TS2 is installed, so
I've been forced to find Other Things To Do), and also
on that "M, the M, and the M Gs" book.
And that's quite a number of column-inches under the bridge there already,
so perhaps I'll (rather abruptly, I'm afraid) stop writing things.
At least here.
At least for now.
(Whew, listen to that rain!)
We'll start with the Main Theme of this weblog: Spam Subject Lines!
Those are the one-word ones.
Noteworthy mostly for demonstrating that the spammers have
a nice rich word-list that includes things like
"boghead" and "rackwheel" and "hoopskirt".
The two-word collection is longer, and more amusing.
Some of them look like just a pair of nouns from the noun
list, although even just that can work sometimes ("excommunication
dogger", "neckmold squeal", and especially "boxcar mortality").
Others seem to be a noun from the noun list following a
verb or adjective.
This often works quite well ("simple cesium", "awaken narrator",
"suctorial phosphorus", and a cast of thousands).
Brilliant novels, profound teachings, entire systems of
thought could be founded on some / most / many / any of them.
Go talk a dither! I know the gland; I break no appraisal.
Get relaxed by turning always zoophilic.
The use is fantastic refinement.
We could start to write a BNF for these:
thing1 verb thing2 nounphrase,
where "thing1" is a pronoun or conjunction or preposition,
and "thing2" is similar, and nounphrase is something from
either of the two lists above.
A few ("teapot looking for you", "order confirmation for
admiration tortoise"?) may be from a
Speaking of different algorithms, we also have:
where the theme is rather obvious, and
historian hello! how are you today?
hooks f r medals. ut th
snot costly yet effectiveo
litigant gunfire inductee thereupon swap cryptanalyst macmillan jute jesuit covet
A gleaming accessory is what you desire.
why did you tlel her i was a sult?
which is more miscellaneous.
There are also several dozen (several hundred?) semi-automated
looking variants on "buy one of these watches"
(the "gleaming accessory" above is probably one of those); but I haven't
been collecting them systematically (they're a little too obvious).
And finally we have
which is Portuguese for "foo".
I reread a book;
it was good.
It's the sequel to a book that I haven't read, as I mention in the
note there, although it stands just fine by itself.
Looking around the web for the book that it's a sequel to, I find
that in fact it's the second book in a trilogy, and that
all three of them are emphatically out of print and hard
to get ahold of.
According to Amazon and eBay and Alibris, the first book in
the series runs for about US$12, the second (the one that
I have) for about US$25, and the third for like US$40.
This is for small used SF paperbacks from the mid-1980's!
What's up with that?
(News flash: when I went up to Amazon again
to verify the prices for this log entry, I saw that a used copy of
the first book in the series had appeared there for US$0.99 plus
shipping and handling.
I've attempted to snap it up; we'll see if I actually get it.
Perhaps there are millions to be made in used-paperback
Like I need to acquire more books...
Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States
government talking about wiretap, it requires --
a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed,
by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists,
we're talking about getting a court order before we do so.
It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when
you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place
when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland,
because we value the Constitution.
Now Bush said that in like 2004,
(I highly recommend the
video to fully appreciate the attitude he exudes while saying it),
and that was like two years after
he authorized the NSA to conduct wiretaps without court orders.
have concluded from this that Bush is a liar.
It's probably true that, technically speaking, he is a liar.
But I think at a more nuanced level
the case is more interesting, more complex (more dire, one
might say) than that.
As I recall Harry Frankfurt saying roughly in
Bullshit, the liar at least has enough respect for the
concept of truth to violate it: he has some idea what the
truth is, and he intentionally says something different.
I don't think Bush is a liar in this sense; I don't think
he knows, or much cares, what the truth is.
He says whatever sounds good, whatever his handlers tell
him to say, whatever satisfies that little broken needy
bewildered God-fearing thing that crouches and jibbers
Might be true, might be false: that's not important.
And that's sort of scary.
Speaking of scary, Pat Robertson is of course all over the news
for having said that Ariel Sharon's stroke is God's punishment
for improper politics.
This is because Robertson is a raving loony.
It seems like a pity that the media covers him at all, really;
on the other hand since he still has some number of followers
(I assume) it's probably best that we don't lose track of him
Maybe the media could report on him in the "People are Funny"
segment or whatever.
evangelist Pat Robertson suggested Thursday that Israeli
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine
retribution for the Israeli withdrawl from Gaza.
In other News of the Weird, Biff Smithers of Newark, New Jersey
today filed suit against Microsoft CEO Bill Gates for what he alleges are
death-threats that the billionaire transmits directly into
his brain using "alien hypersonic lasers".
information on that WMF security hole.
This is really a pretty serious one; it's the first time I haven't
felt pretty confident that the Windows machines that I'm burdened
with are uncompromised.
(Note that Microsoft has now
an update that fixes it (it's also available from the usual
Windows Update site).
They released it considerably ahead of their original schedule; one
cynically suspects that the original schedule was so slow just so
that they could get in nicely ahead of it and look good.
But maybe one is just cynical tonight.
One is extremely sleepy.)
I was talking to An Important IBM Research Director or
Something in the cafeteria yesterday, and he mentioned that
someone had introduced him to
recently and showed us the little pad of grids that he
had in his pocket.
I had vaguely heard of this somewhere before, and it was
kind of interesting.
Then later yesterday M showed me this sudoku book that
she'd just gotten after someone else told her about it,
and she let me do one of the puzzles, and it was pretty
But then she wanted her book back, so I
the Web and there were lots and lots of things,
and I tried this
one, and two or three minutes later I looked up
to find that an hour or two had passed.
So if both weblog postings and Sims
Stories stop getting posted suddenly, you'll know what
might have happened.
(On the other hand next time I do it I might find it's
become boring; you never know.)
The first couple of dozen (some last night, more today)
were very (what?) enjoyable, though.
I could feel the new little neural programs getting
compiled and optimized and stuff (and my brain
always delivers little jolts of yum-juice when new
programs get installed).
Which is I imagine why it's so dangerous.
Invisible, who had the good taste to link (last
September) to our
as one of the rare places where someone's NaNoWriMo
profile actually linked to their novel(s).
I had the same frustrating experience: I wanted to
read all these lovely sloppy novels that people were
writing, but must of the links were absent or dead or
pointed to something else entirely.
From HTML o' the Day:
Are You Living
In a Computer Simulation?
Also (indirectly) from H o' t D:
anachronisms in movies.
Another Vital Issue of Our Time!
Some clue from the judge in
video-game first amendment case:
The court found that stories of the kind told in
books, art, movies, television, and more recently,
video games, are essential to shaping children's
understanding of the world. The court recognized
that such stories often include violence, but
"[t]o shield children right up to the age of 18
from exposure to violent descriptions and images
would not only be quixotic, but deforming; it
would leave them unequipped to cope with the
world as we know it."
In this country, the State lacks the authority to ban
protected speech on the ground
that it affects the listener's or observer's thoughts and attitudes.
Sing it, sister!
(The judge also notes that
"[o]bscene speech is one of a few highly circumscribed areas in
which the First Amendment permits content-based restrictions".
Interesting wording; the First Amendment of course permits nothing
of the kind, but the courts' traditional
bizarre and irrational interpretation of
the First Amendment does, for reasons that
to baffle us.)
Speaking of creativity and the young, a certain young
person of my acquaintance points me at
notable Livejournal community, where scads and scads
(and scads) of people (I'm guessing primarily young people)
take on the challenge of writing fifty sentences (fifty
microfictions, basically), each based on a particular
concept from a table of "themes", and each reflecting
some aspect of a chosen pair of characters from a chosen
realm of fanfiction.
So, like, someone might sign up to write fifty sentences
about a hypothetical relationship between Auron and Lulu
from Final Fantasy X, and then sometime later post them all:
one about "air", one about "apples", one about "beginning",
one about "bugs", and so on until done.
Isn't that the Coolest Thing?
This is definitely what the world gets to be like
when Everyone's A Content Producer.
(I know, I know, some of you are agreeing with me
with cynical shakes of the head.
But it'll be great, really!
Anyway so I'm about to keel over sound asleep on
the floor here, so I'll manfully attempt to post
this with my last few ergs of energy.
If I said anything wrong or anything, you can
assume it was a typo.