Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Security worries

I won't be installing Service Pack 3 for Windows XP on my computer due to the EULA, which says it can periodically tell Microsoft all about my computer "to prevent piracy". Screw that. I spend enough effort keeping spyware off of my system; I'm not going to have it in my OS. I didn't allow WGA onto my system, and I'm not allowing SP3 either if it's going to do the same thing. I am kind of worried, though, that this decision may make me vulnerable to security holes. This may lead to my switching to Ubuntu.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Land of the Free*

Miscarriages of justice make me furious. I'm too mad to talk.

*Offer not valid in case of technology. Some restrictions may apply.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

That tube is for tube-related science, not tube-related fun!

Cool sciency links:
  • The coolest optical illusion I've ever seen, with the possible exception of random dot stereograms ("Magic Eye" pictures).
  • Nobel laureate Richard Feynman explains quantum theory. No math; it's aimed at laymen.
  • The husband of a fantasy author decides to find out just what it would take to make that werewolf-killing silver bullet.
  • You're familiar with lolcats, right? Well, cross it with Star Trek and you get LOLTrek.
  • Theodory Gray decided to collect samples of all the elements to put in his Wooden Periodic Table.
  • A list of very old sites (the list is from 2002 - that's like 1950 in internet time) fitting this theme, most of which are still up. The LOX barbecue is the only cool one that's died of link rot; check the bottom of George Goble's Wiki page instead.

Not-quite-current events

  • The best election headline
  • I don't know if I believe this or not, but apparently Sarah Palin didn’t know Africa was a continent. I mean, Sarah Palin isn't the sharpest crayon, but I trust the McCain campaign as far as I can throw them. If McCain himself said it, I'd buy it; he's been struggling to hold on to his honor and integrity all campaign. In fact, that's part of why he did so badly. You can win with a clean campaign, and you can win with a dirty campaign, but there's not much hope for "clean — no, dirty — no, clean — no, dirty — but not that dirty!"
  • A comic on the banking crisis

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A sense of scale

If you shrunk the earth down to 1 meter in diameter, the difference between the highest mountain and the deepest sea trench would be 1.5 mm. The International Space Station is 1.2 inches up, and the Space Shuttle can't go higher than about 3 inches. Geosynchronous orbit is 9.2 feet from the surface. The distance to the moon becomes 100 feet, give or take about 5 feet depending on where it is in its orbit. Mars never gets closer than 2 2/3 miles, and the sun is 7.2-7.4 miles away (we're closest Jan. 3, and furthest Jul. 4). The nearest star, Alpha Centauri? It's more than 8 times the (actual) distance to the moon.

Welcome to the internet, where the men are real men, the women are real men, and the little girls are real FBI agents.

chain linksLinkety-link-link-link.
  • is a collection of funny (often NSFW) quotes from IRC users.
  • lets you loan small amounts of money to would-be entrepreneurs in third-world countries. You don't get any interest, but these days that's better than the stock market.
  • I wanna be a Sesame Street Martian for Halloween next year. I won't get around to making the costume, though, so I won't.
  • Using your TV as a radar. Awesome.
  • Just how unlikely your vote is to matter, and why (pdf) you should vote anyway.
  • When restaurants are more clever than clean.
  • A crazy pastor has a crazy plan to keep Obama from becoming president.
  • Fundies Say the Darndest Things is a collection of other crazy religious people being crazy.
  • A silly song about believing silly things. Could be offensive, as you may believe in one of the things deemed silly.
  • Finally, an odd glitch in most text editors.