Wednesday, August 23, 2006

wednesday things-n-stuff


I haven't done any cute animal photos for a while, primarily because I don't have any. But I do have a few small stuffed animals at my desk, and here's a photo of one. This may appear to be a hippo, superficially, but it's really a wombat. My wife gave it to me, and she says it's a wombat.


Yet another wildflower photo, taken a while back. I was actually going to go take a better photo this morning, since this isn't exactly the best photo ever taken, but the flower was gone, and the ivy median where it used to be had been extensively pruned back. Further down the street there was a white van marked "Inmate Work Crew", and a bunch of shady characters in orange vests were doing a bit of groundskeeping. I didn't get close enought to see whether they let these guys have sharp objects or not, but I don't see how you're supposed to trim ivy if you don't have anything sharp. Yikes!

Various items found on the net:
  • Another cute echidna, for your enjoyment, or at least for mine.
  • Got a search hit from someone at the San Diego Zoo, who was looking for "psycho killer raccoons terrorize olympia". I hadn't heard anything about that, but the zoo in San Diego is highly respected, and more importantly they have echidnas, so I take this sort of thing seriously. Turns out there's an Associated Press article by that title out there on the interwebs. Jeepers! I've never been a fan of raccoons. As much as I go in for the cute-animal thing, I specifically exclude raccoons. Yecch. If they're a nuisance, and a danger to the community, why should they be treated any differently than the way rats are dealt with under these circumstances?
  • I'm not into motorcycles, in the sense that I have absolutely no desire to own or ride one. I've told my wife several times that she ought to slap me silly if I ever seriously consider a motorcycle, even as a midlife crisis toy way off in the distant future. But they sure can be real purty to look at sometimes.
  • In somewhat the same vein, here are a couple of cute post-WWII German microcars. Awwwwww....
  • Perhaps our fair city's Downtown Security Network is perfectly innocent, but the name and concept still give me the heebie-jeebies. Seems now the city wants to catalog all the privately-owned security cameras downtown, you know, strictly as a crime prevention measure. For protecting the children and all that. There's no mention of networking the cameras together, UK-style, so that everyone's under government surveillance all the time. Not yet, anyway.
  • I've never watched a single episode of Survivor, so normally I wouldn't bother talking about it, but they've really jumped the shark this time. Seems that in the next Survivor series, there will be four teams, grouped by race. Yes, you read that right. The people from the show are spinning it like it's going to be a serious exploration of race in modern America. Somehow I doubt that.
    I also doubt, somehow, that the minds behind network TV reality shows really know anything about the subject or have anything useful to contribute on that count. I can see it now, people getting thrown off the island when it turns out one of their great-grandparents was a non-Aryan mongrel. Maybe next they can group the teams by religion, following traditional US practice: Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and "Other". A huge argument breaks out within the Protestant team, with the Southern Baptist faction accusing the Episcopalians of secretly wanting to join the Catholic team, and insisting on hauling up a huge "Mission Accomplished" sign all the time, win or lose. The conservative blogosphere blows a gasket whenever the Jewish team does well, muttering darkly about "the people who run Hollywood" and so forth. And the folks lumped together in "Other" have a bit of trouble getting along, as well.

    Or maybe they could do liberals vs. conservatives, or gays vs. straights, or Italian Mafia vs. Irish Mafia, or Bloods vs. Crips, or, or, or...

    Personally, I'd suggest a left-handers vs. right-handers battle, although it really wouldn't be much of a contest. Those righties wouldn't stand a chance, the poor saps.
  • Slashdot mentioned the latest Windows vs. OSX security article. It's actually not that great of an article, on one hand giving the standard list of Windows design flaws (SYSTEM account, registry, alternate data streams, ACLs, etc.), and on the other singing the praises of Apple's launchd, which is really just a modern replacement for a few ancient BSD-legacy daemons (init, cron, inetd). It's certainly nice that launchd is secure, but comparing it to Windows is... well, I'm trying to avoid the obvious Apples-n-oranges cliche here. It's just not the same thing.

    At one point the author says "Windows has no equivalent to OS X's bill of materials, so it cannot validate permissions, dates and checksums of system and third-party software.", which is not exactly true. The MSI installer lets you provide hash values for the files in a package, and it's not difficult to validate files against the hashes provided. The one hiccup is that MSI uses a proprietary hash algorithm, so there's no way to know how secure it really is. I'm not a big Windows fan, and I'd certainly hope that OSX is more secure, but really, if you're writing an article like this, it pays to do a little research first.
  • On a somewhat related note, check out the return of David Brent, who's now, um, consulting for a certain large software company based in Redmond-where-the-shadows-lie.
  • Coolest. Beer bottle. Ever. I must find this.
  • A mini-profile of a local creepy anti-immigrant protester.
  • The creationists are at it again. Since they can't weasel their beliefs into the schools by pretending it's scientific, instead they're taking a page from Karl Rove, swiftboating their opponents and violating Godwin's Law in the process.

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