Archive for October, 2010

Gilmore on Patdowns

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Reprinted from the Interesting People mailing list.

From: John Gilmore <>
Date: October 28, 2010 6:09:39 PM EDT
Cc: "ip" <>
Subject: Re: [IP] Well worth reading US rolls out invasive pat-downs this week 

The limits of oppression are set by the rebellion of the oppressed.
You have suffered flagrant violations of personal privacy and
autonomy, the extinction of both your right to travel within the
country and your right to leave it without official permission -- and
you barely even noticed.  Secret blacklists, unaccountable goons
making up the rules and imposing them without oversight, quisling
judges who can't see anything totalitarian even when officially told
they aren't allowed to know or reveal what the law says, technology
that literally strips you naked, "border" searches at any lonely spot
in any road.  Innocent people arrested without cause, or fired from
their jobs, because a bureaucrat put them on a secret list.  Detailed
dossiers kept of every person's travel, friendships, finances, and
communications.  (Not to mention torture of the accused, thousands
thrown in prison due to their religion, "the president can imprison
anybody he likes, forever, without charges".  Two presidents have now
claimed that power.  But that's off the topic of TSA and DHS -- and
besides, they'd never do that to YOU.)  And you just don't care.

You keep submitting to these airport Gestapo, over and over!  You
never sue them over it, you never complain to your legislators to
overturn these totalitarian intrusions into your lives.  You never
change your travel plans to avoid the intrusions.  You never challenge
them at the checkpoints.  Your crazies never head over to the airport
to shoot a dozen of the layabouts manning the checkpoints.  If even 5%
of you made a fuss at the front of the line, the whole stinking farce
would break down, but you never do.  If ten friends agreed to run
right through a checkpoint at the same time in ten different airports,
idiotic TSA rules would shut down travel in the whole country, but
nobody ever does that.  If a hundred people just got it into their
heads to run through checkpoints, without coordinating at all with
each other, the same thing would happen.  Your activists focus on
attacking businesses or attacking homosexuals while everyone appluads
the growth of intrusive government and the patient strangling of
personal freedom.  The whole idea of refusing or resisting or
rebelling never even occurs to you.  More than half of you think the
whole "security" regime is a good idea, even when the precondition for
moving around in your own country is that you have to choose whether
they grope your crotch or snap and save naked photos of you!

So get used to it.  Your chickens are coming home to roost.  You
deserve exactly what you put up with, you sheep.

	John Gilmore

PS: The next intrusion your puppet masters dream up will be even more
   fun for you to ineffectively whine about.


Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Sick of wearing a regular bike helmet? Try the Hovding, a Swedish scarf-mounted airbag system. Neat video at the link.

Internet Kill Switch

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

A new report from Unisys says that 61% of American support an “Internet Kill Switch” that would give the President the authority to shut down portions of the Internet in the event of a coordinated cyber attack from another country.

I would imagine that the 1% of Americans who actually understand how the Internet works are laughing at this as hard as I am. You might as well give him a “Gravity Kill Switch” so that he can turn off gravity and stop bombs from falling. Helpful hint, morons – the Internet was designed so that this sort of thing is impossible to implement. It’s a decentralized system without an authoritarian hierarchy; nobody is in a position to implement a central control console.

Give a hoot, buy a bike.

Thursday, October 28th, 2010


Just in case anyone that travels through here is looking for a bike, knows someone that is looking for a bike or repair work, come check it out.

(photo not of actual bikes, mere symbolic of the state of the garage)

Big Bike Blow-out Bonanza on Bullis!


Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

This man knows how to sell a car. Even a shite box like a 1977 Mercury Cougar (a four door, no less). Hell, I’m almost tempted to buy it. Four-square headlights? They never go out of style.

Discreet Adultery

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

It’s good to see the Internet keeping it so classy.

Discreet Adultery is a web site catering to wives looking to have extra-marital affairs. They think that they will be particularly successful in the current economic climate, presumably because unemployed men will no longer be able to bribe their materialistic shrew wives into maintaining a single user policy vis-a-vis their sexual equipment.

That is super, super depressing.


Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and other online applications often pass authentication cookies around in plain text. This is because setting up and tearing down SSL (encrypted) connections is computationally costly, and when you’re handling as much data as someone like Facebook it would be silly to waste all of that compute time. Time is money.

Enter firesheep. This handy Firefox extension will monitor any shared media network – like, say, unencrypted wireless – watching for the authentication cookies and snarfing them up. As the user of the extension, you get a handy menu of logins and sites to choose from so that you can imitate whoever you like.

I imagine that there might be some improved SSL controls coming on popular sites in the future.

Why Go To College?

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Apparently, a college degree is no longer a gateway to a wonderful job with a white picket fence. In fact, there are at least seventeen million college graduates doing work that is, according to the BLS, beneath the skill level conferred by a baccalaureate degree.

It seems that the President’s plan to send everyone to college so that we can all have awesome jobs might have a flaw. There’s just not enough awesome jobs to go around. Or, to put it more succinctly, the world needs ditch diggers, too, Danny.


Turning Japanese

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Hatsune Miku is a Japanese pop star who sells out stadium shows. And she is a completely fictional 3D hologram.

Apparently there is a class of software that allows users to create singing avatars, and this is becoming a genuine form of public entertainment in Japan. Oh, crazy Japanese people, with your hologram music and your square watermelons, how I love your odd odd ways.

Xerox Alto

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

A Xerox Alto, the world’s first graphical computer, just sold for over thirty thousand dollars on eBay.

Not bad for a forty year old machine.