Losing Faith

NPR’s Planet Money (which I have been known to describe — without hyperbole — as “the best journalism on any topic in any media, in the entire existence of journalism”) published an interesting blog posting. A reporter goes to the Treasury Department to find out that the US government is going to lend billions of…

Anathem

I’ve finished Anathem, and I’m happy to report that it’s not just Hogwarts with math. There’s a whole lot of other stuff going on in there, and it’s fun. You have to like Stephenson’s style, and you have to enjoy learning and thinking about a whole new planet. Luckily, the planet is based on principles…

Bad Passwords – problem or opportunity?

This article includes some interesting analysis of passwords found in the wild. A reasonable first impression would be, “good god, those people are sure stupid”. But I had another idea… isn’t it interesting that a lot of people prefer pattern-based passwords, i.e. pressing the buttons in a certain order, without respect to the semantic meaning of…

Quotable Quotes

Here’s a new feature on Google News: Quotes. If you search for someone by name, and Google noticed that they’ve been quoted, then one of their quotes will be on top of the results. Then you can click for more. Here’s an example from a quotable politician.

Roger, Agent Carebear, Clear to Engage Enemy

Check out this picture of the FBI mobile command center that’s been deployed for the inauguration: And this picture from inside: WTF? Carebears on the video screen of our nation’s most elite mobile command center? Perhaps this photo is counter-FBI propaganda promulgated by the Secret Service… inter-agency rivalry is a bitch!

Anathem

I am reading Anathem by Neal Stephenson, and it’s pretty darn good. I can’t shake the feeling that it’s basically “Hogwarts with Math”, but that’s not Stephenson’s fault… he’s telling a perfectly good story, it just happens that Rowling was also telling a perfectly good story and the two seem a bit the same. There…

An interview with an insurgent

The Guardian carried a really scary article recently about the new face of the insurgency in Iraq. One quote that surprised me was this one: Black soldiers are a particular target. ‘To have Negroes occupying us is a particular humiliation,’ Abu Mujahed said, echoing the profound racism prevalent in much of the Middle East. ‘Sometimes…