Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Hummer Drivers are Wankers

Managed to scratch one off the list of "100 things to do before you die" yesterday. There was a guy driving a Hummer beside me at the traffic light. Got out pointed at him and shouted "wanker". In retrospect he was clearly Russian mafia but it still had to be done.

For all the talk of friendliness it is actually massive black cynacism and begrudgery that defines the Irish. We seemed to have lost the ability to point at obvious wankers and point out their wankertuide to them.

I have heard many arguments as to why Hummers are awful. If you want to shout wanker at them becuase of their lack of social conscience that is fine. However my main reason is that they are clearly driven by wankers.

The great Irish icons, Michael Collins, John F Kennedy and Pope John Paul II all had the balls to get shot in open topped cars. Now we have these wankers driving round in armored personnel carriers? How much risk are they really in? Have they invented modern urban guerrilla warfare, lead a side in a civil war, broke up the mafia, invaded cuba or attempted to topple communism? Until you can prove you have done something to piss off lots of angry people with guns you should grow a pair and not drive round in a tank

Security as a status symbol

This article is about how a lot of security equipment is to advertise "hey I have things that are worth stealing".

This is like Eminem wearing a bullet proof vest to show that he annoys people enough that they would be willing to shoot him. Or how dodgy Russian mafiosas drive hummers around Dublin like they are in a war zone.

It is slightly different from "security theatre" as Schneier calls it as it is not designed to provide the illusion of security just the illusion of a need for security.
There are many similar things to this in computer security,
Symantec have a response unit housed in a nuclear bunker. This is a good way for the DR Strangelove cachet to rub off on people checking for botnets.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Search engine optimiziation malware

I Just read this

It describes how they discovered a bug. They knew this bug would be searched for. So they made a page about it and did some of the standard search engine boosting things to get people to the page.
Now suppose a bad man discovers an exploit. Say “firefox extension update” exploit. Now he creates a piece of malware that exploits this exploit. He also creates a page about this exploit and about the malware that includes a patch. There are so many bleeping computer type forums and such that he does not even need to fake a legitimate looking url. Now he has 2 pieces of malware being spread the exploit and the patch. And google will lead people to the malicious patch.
I doubt the malware would stay up for long but the use of search engine optimiziation to spread malware is probably going to happen.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Reality TV

Why is television so nasty? Take big brother where they put a load of people in a house and wind them up so they fight like crabs in a bucket. Surely we can make programs that are entertaining and positive?

Big Brother*/Survivor: who wants to be stuck in a house or an island by themselves? How is getting rid of everyone a goal? Here is my alternative program. You start with a plot of land a small hut and building supplies. Each week your task is to learn a new building skill. A new person joins every week who gets voted in by the public. After 12 weeks you have a bunch of people who have been trained with useful skills, you have houses for people to live in and you have a community.

The apprentice: It takes you an entire series to give someone a job? With the amount of effort these people make you could create jobs for hundreds of people. Get the job applicants and tell them they have to start a business that gives work for one person that week. If they fail they do not get any money next week and are out of the show. So over the course of 12 weeks you have a bunch of people creating their own business and employing people. The best (most successful at creating business/employment) person wins.

Jamie Oliver is an annoying tool but at least 15, where he trains up kids in how to work in a restaurant is a positive program. Why do all these other programs have to be like gladiatorial contests? Technology, the rule of law and capitalism have gotten us to the point where there is no need for people to lack the basic necessities of life. We need not continue to gorge ourselves till we puke like two year olds after trick or treating. Why cannot programs explain how much ability we have to improve the world and celebrate this ability?

*If you do not like this idea I have an alternative pitch “Big Buddha”. We put people from all sorts of religious orders in the house and then tempt them with sin. So the celibate Catholic priest has hourly lap dances. The serene Buddhist monk has to talk to Jade Goody all day. The one who survives temptation the longest wins.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A conversation with a Creationist

In Ireland you never actually meet Creationists. There may be many around but it does not usually come up in conversation. So I was a bit weirded out by this conversation I had in the pub on Sunday. It was with a friend who has converted to Islam.

K: Even the fossil record says that evolution does not happen
(me hears this walking past)
Me: Surely the fact that there are fossils that are different to what we have now indicates evolution has happened
K: But there are so many gaps that you cannot prove that one animal became another so there must have been a creation
Me: You can prove it a lot better then you can prove there was a creation
K: Even Steven Hawking is a creationist
Me: From reading what he says he seems a Pantheist but he may believe in a creator, some sort of physicist God who set everything going. That is different to the burning bush type of God
K: Evolution is just a steady state theory so it cannot be there was a creation
Me: No it is not evolution is about things changing, bacteria have evolved resistance to antibiotics, even Intelligent Design people agree with that.
K: See intelligent design, people realise evolution does not explain things

At this point I wandered off and got a pint. Thinking back on the conversation it seems obvious that we were talking about two different things, that you cannot reason someone out of a conversation they have not reasoned themselves into and that the pub is probably not the right place for mixing religion and science.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Neon Bible: Arcade Fire

This is one of the great albums. Great in that it sums up the time. "On the beach" and "After the goldrush" by Neil Young are Zeitgeist albums. Catch 22 and American Psycho define a moment in a similar way.

If you believe like John Lennon that music should be like journalism this is a great album. Music is not some perfect Platonic world,it and only makes sense when it puts the world around you in context.

Neon Bible will turn out to be the album of the year, it sums up this moment perfectly. Modest Mouse's "We were dead before the ship even sank" is a better album but it is not the one that we need right now.

The album sounds foreboding and imminent. Imminent in the sense of a being trapped in a world where you cannot affect the forces aligned against you. The Onion described it as peopled by characters in an Ayn Rand novel. People who realise what has been holding them back and rebel against it. I think Brazil or Thx1138 might be more apt, Rand's characters escape from their prison but this album just tells us that we have to try.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

How crap was the past 2?

Let the cat out of the bag

So in the middle ages they used to hide cats in bags instead of piglets and sell these to idiots? Had these people never heard of spam filtering?
You go down to the bag you oink if it oinks back it is spam and thus worth buying. If it meows it is a cat and you do not buy. How crap were hackers then? It is a straight decision you did not even have to wait for Bayes to be born to come up with that one.

Monday, March 12, 2007

More Racism

Since big brother we have weekly news stories involving another racist row. In this one some talentless dolly bird insulted Samantha Mumba
McLean said she thought she 'looked like a monkey'.

Every member of the species Homo Sapiens is a monkey. Some of us look more like other species of monkey then others.

No racism accusations are made about that Bush/Chimp website. To say that it is ok for only non black people to be accused of looking like a monkey is racist. It is racist against black people because it says they are different to other races. Why do all these newspaper selling racism stories lately involve more racism then the story they are reporting?

Friday, March 09, 2007


Yesterday a British politician Patrick Mercer said

“if you'd said to them: 'Have you ever been called a nigger?' they would have said: 'Yes.' But equally, a chap with red hair, for example, would also get a hard time - a far harder time than a black man, in fact.”
"But that's the way it is in the army. If someone is slow on the assault course, you'd get people shouting: 'Come on you fat bastard, come on you ginger bastard, come on you black bastard.'

Tory leader David Cameron moved swiftly to sack the homeland security spokesman. He was sacked for saying it was ok to shout “black bastard” at a soldier.

Andrew Sullivan pointed out that the use of slur terms to degrade someone is wrong
“The emasculation of men in minority groups is an ancient trope of the vilest bigotry. Why was it wrong, after all, for white men to call African-American men "boys"? Because it robbed them of the dignity of their masculinity. And that's what Coulter did last Friday to gays. She said - and conservatives applauded - that I and so many others are not men. We are men, Ann. As members of other minorities have been forced to say in the past: I am not a faggot. I am a man.”

But is calling someone “black” a slur? Is it not racist to regard that as a slur and not regard calling someone “ginger” as a slur? They are both terms used to describe a racial characteristic, neither of which is a slur by itself. Surely treating black people different to gingers is racist?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

How crap was the past?

It became obvious to me recently how monumentally stupid people in the past were. Someone was telling me that pancake Tuesday originates from an attempt to get rid of all the nice foods like eggs and flour before lent began. How crap is life that eggs and flour are classed as nice foods? People were always being promised “the land of milk and honey” what sort of low expectation having motherfuckers were they? Have they never heard of big screen televisions, and mini eggs? And what happens if you have a bee allergy and a milk intolerance?

Do you know what the stupidest thing in the past is? Passage graves. “5000 years ago they used Stonehenge and Newgrange to tell what time of year it was” Why could they not tell time the way we do, using special edition products? When Cadburys crème eggs go on sale it is the start of lent, shamrock shakes means it is near St. Patricks day etc. How stupid was everyone that they did not realize this?

Abandon Hope

Thursday will be a windy day with string and gusty southerly winds
which veer southwesterly later.

Head for the hills met.ie is forecasting string for tomorrow, I do not mean to start a panic but now is the time to panic. Do not pack just run do not look back. Should you become part of a hysterical mob children make the best surface for trampling on.

In order to defend against string one point is vital. DO NOT batten down the hatches. Hatch battening just enrages string further.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Death of Irony

Trócaire’s Lenten campaign for 2007 focuses on equal rights for women and men around the world. By helping to promote gender equality we can improve the lives of many.”
The Catholic church now cares about gender equality? Irony implies humour so this on the irony scale is closer to gut churning hypocracy. I could make a list of attempted other humourous "new found concern for" things, you know "King Herod's new found concern for creche facilities" "Pol Pot's new found concern for not having piles of skulls everywhere", but really with something like this what is the point?