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Monday, December 21, 2009

another database cracked

This one has far-ranging consequences. It's a global database, and most of the people listed are children:

The majority of the children are accurately identified by their age, addresses, birthdates and (where possible) national identification numbers. All United States kids with Social Security numbers are now sharing their identities with the whole world.

For some, the consequences have already hit home:

Jane Doe has had to disappear into the FBI witness protection program to hide from the crowd of men seeking her company. Frequent age errors in the database mean that grown men and women who used their social security numbers as banking passwords are now losing their life savings.

Some people are now questioning whether the database should ever have been compiled in the first place. Just how much does Santa Claus need to know about who's been naughty or nice?

See the full story at Precision Blogging.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

on the accuracy of the measurements in the galaxy song

Paul Kohlmiller of the San Jose Astronomical Association analyzes Eric Idle's Galaxy Song here.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

The Future of Security

RSnake examines what Star Trek tells us about the future of information security. A sample:

Organizations will focus on secure transport and network security and will still ignore drive encryption and the insider threat: I don’t really recall any times where enemies were able to intercept any meaningful communications between the Enterprise and other federation ships. That must mean they are using TLS16/SSL34.0 in the future, which is good, but for some reason any schmuck diplomat from some third world (pun intended) alien race can get any information out of the computer he wants without ever even supplying a password!

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Check out the entire post.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

the Apple experience

How to simulate the experience of buying a Mac:

  1. Buy a PC.

  2. Have the operating system replaced with FreeBSD.

  3. Withdraw $500 from your checking account, and burn it.


Friday, June 12, 2009

the real reason the Tower of Pisa leans

... can be found here.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

programming language music

I don't know what's more impressive: This parody of Julia Ecklar's God Lives on Terra, or the fact that Ecklar herself was recruited to sing it.

Of course, God doesn't really create the universe with Lisp code. It's common knowledge that God used Perl.

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