Random Thursday

I know...two consecutive days with posts that consist of actual words. Don't get used to it. I started this one to test some new software - MarsEdit, if you must know - and needed to post something other than images to get a good feel for how it works. (I ended up not being too impressed; luckily, I was using it during the 30-day free demo period.) Anyway...

  • Thank goodness Ashley Hamilton and Macy Gray were eliminated from Dancing With The Stars last night, sparing us further pain of watching them. Next up (we hope): Tom DeLay.

  • Security expert Bruce Schneier has another interesting article on his blog, this one about assigning responsibility for the protection of individual financial information to the entity most able to do something about it: the bank. He takes a rather revolutionary view of the situation:
They can't claim that the user must keep his password secure or his machine virus free. They can't require the user to monitor his accounts for fraudulent activity, or his credit reports for fraudulently obtained credit cards. Those aren't reasonable requirements for most users. The bank must be made responsible, regardless of what the user does.
Anticipating push back from the banking community, he then points out that credit card companies already take this approach to security, and they're doing fine financially, and their security issues aren't unmanageable, either.
  • Gotta love these t-shirt designs. I especially like the "Loch Ness Imposter," "Demise of Mr. Flamingo," and "Baby Godzilla." Unfortunately, each one is sold out in my size. Think anyone would notice if I stole borrowed the designs and put them on my CafePress Store t-shirts?

  • I'm absolutely not responsible for what happens if you click this link. Don't say I didn't warn you. (But you'll have a bit of control over what you see if you do click it, if you're willing to stick around long enough to experiment.)

  • Here's a guy who's building a camper that fits on top of shopping cart. I guess his target market consists of those guys who eagerly await the next release of Raisin Bran Crunch at the local grocery store. The same fellow also invented the bicycle-mounted camper, a vehicle that was obviously never tested during a West Texas spring windstorm.

  • I was simultaneously intrigued and repulsed by the thought of taking the silk from one million golden orb spiders and weaving a beautiful tapestry from it. I've also crossed off yet another career option: spider silk extraction technician. I tried to discover just exactly how one goes about extracting silk from a million spiders. I was unsuccessful, which is fortunate because such is the stuff of nightmares. (I did find a reference to a spider silk "reeling machine" along with a highly technical description of everything except how the darned thing actually works.)

  • But I did learn of another intriguing use of spider silk: fiber optic circuitry. This technique is amazing. Scientists have figured out a way to coat the spider silk (don't ask how they get it in the first place) with silicon, then bake it until the silk dissipates, leaving a much-smaller-than-hair-thin tube through which they can shoot light. As with the aforementioned golden tapestry, the silk from the golden orb spider was initially used, but the geeks are planning to use silk from another species of spider that will yield tubes even smaller: around two nanometers, or twelve times smaller than those produced by more conventional methods. (Of course, I just noticed that this article was published about six years ago; I have no idea of if or how this technology was extended.)

  • OK, enough about spiders. I'll leave you with a recommendation for a very sweet movie that was unknown to yours truly until my wife put it on our NetFlix queue. Check out Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing & Charm School, a gem featuring a dozen familiar faces including Marisa Tomei, Mary Steenburgen, John Goodman, and Donnie Wahlberg, with appearances by Sonia Braga, Adam Arkin, Sean Astin, Danny DeVito, Ernie Hudson, and several others whose faces you'll recognize even if you might not recall their names. And, yes, it does feature some ballroom dancing, although that's not what the movie is about.


Seriously? We're not even allowed to hold people personally responsible for maintaining security on their own personal machines?? No wonder the world is going you know where in a hand basket. Even if credit card companies are, supposedly, doing this (are they? Really?) how is that any better? At what point to people have to start sucking it up and being the ones who control their lives rather than being simply the people who control who gets the blame for their idiocy?

Now you want me to read things before expressing my opinions? :) Alright...I'll have to go read it now. But I still think that people need to man up a little these days and just get a grip. I'm tired of the whining. But that could be because I need to take a little vacation from teaching.

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This page contains a single entry by Eric published on September 24, 2009 6:38 AM.

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