4.11.2014

This art business is starting to look pretty good

In China, jar of fresh French air sells for $860

"How much is fresh air worth in smog-choked China?

A jar of air from Provence, France, sold last month for $860.

The jar was part of a conceptual art project by Beijing artist Liang Kegang…"

Who's your Mama now?

South Carolina Is Trying To Expand Its 'Stand Your Ground' Law To Include Fetuses | ThinkProgress

"On Thursday, a Senate committee in South Carolina voted to expand the state’s so-called ‘Stand Your Ground’ law to approve the use of deadly force to protect a fetus. The proposal would grant pregnant women protection from prosecution if they were defending their ‘unborn children,’ defined as ‘the offspring of human beings from conception until birth.’"

Or maybe it was just fashion advice (but probably not)

Shoe Thrown At Hillary Clinton During Speech

"'Is that somebody throwing something at me?' Clinton said after the object flew past her on the stage at the Mandalay Bay resort. 'Is that part of Cirque de Soleil?'

"

Duck

Florida’s Zombie Apocalypse Gun Bill - The Daily Beast

"This is crazy, even by Florida standards."

Somebody was either coming or going underneath that bed

Yeah, I know, it’s an old, old, and not so funny joke. Sorry. But it’s true.

Jellyfish Variation #1
iPhone art: Phil Compton

The way things are

Comcast Swallows Time Warner, With Democrats for Dessert | The American Conservative

"Comcast will come out of this merger one of the most powerful telecommunications providers in the country, with the weight to make even otherwise big content providers like Netflix bend their knee. They have the money to play the Washington game and turn the tables in their favor."

FYI, here's another Heartbleed checker

LastPass - LastPass Heartbleed checker

The link we mentioned yesterday is still quite good but this one does a more thorough job of explaining its results.

Ah, the memories

In Mongolia, a Gift Horse for Hagel - NYTimes.com

"Bat-Erdene Dashdemberel, the minister of defense, spoke warmly about the strength of the American-Mongolian bond. ‘Mongolia is a peace-loving country,’ he said of a land that still reveres its native hero, Genghis Khan. "

Maybe a rainy day

It was 46º this morning. I'd forgotten it ever got that warm. And it might be even warmer by this afternoon. Also, maybe, rainy. 

Rain, curiously, would be a good thing. I need to do some cleaning around here before I dare the windows open. Also, I dust under my bed in years that end with 4. So there’s that. With the weather we’ve been having lately—sunny, warmy—it’s been tempting to be outdoors. Maybe if it rains enough I’ll stay in and get some stuff done. Or take a nap.

4.10.2014

Want to know what it's like to be really, really old?

More responsible corporate action in a security breach: “Subsidiary of Experian Plc exposes some 200 million social security numbers” | Shawn Stoller's Blog

I’m so old I remember the government’s saying Don’t worry, nobody will ever know your Social Security number but the Social Security Administration and you

Imagine.

Things looking up


Makes my head hurt…

…reading about the now-famous Heartbleed Bug (click on the link for a techie but not too techie discussion). There are all manner of non-technical discussions available, not all in agreement but all, pretty much, right. Nobody really knows. The general advice is to change all your passwords (I know, I know), but it is probably not a good idea to do this until you are made aware by your various servers that their software has been patched. 

And, before you do change your passwords it would be a good idea to review this advice from US-CERT.

ADD: Here’s a handy Heartbleed test page for checking servers you use.

4.09.2014

Who will save the bacon?

Piglet virus blamed for rising bacon prices | WWLP

"The virus was first noticed less than a year ago, and since then, millions of piglets in 27 states have died; causing the price of certain pork products to spike."

Why you should not pay too much attention to staff writers

The real reason you should be freaking out about Heartbleed - Salon.com

"A year ago, most of us would likely have scoffed at such paranoia. But in the post-Snowden world…"

If this guy was scoffing at paranoia a year ago he was about 20 years behind the times already.

BTW, this Heartbleed flaw in OpenSSL is serious and also instructional, instructional because of the Open. Geeks have long held as an article of faith that open-source software was way, way safer than the proprietary kind because thousands of eyes inspecting the code, blah blah. Or, as it turns out, not. Ouch. (And now floating the idea this flaw is there because of some nasty intelligence service? Come on.)

Still on the road

Intro - Andrew Waits

"Boondock is a photographic investigation into a population for whom a vehicle represents not just a mode of transportation, but a means of shelter and sustainability."

(Lots of photos; an excellent work avoidance tool.)

Next, maybe we can get the Ukranians to help with ours

U.S. Assisting Ukraine With 'Treasure Trove' of Yanukovych Records

"A top U.S. diplomat says the United States is helping Ukraine comb through a 'treasure trove' of documents recovered from the government of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in order to prosecute corrupt officials. "

4.08.2014

After a little rain


But not too unspeakably to tweet

mollycrabapple
Unspeakably excited to be going to Istanbul on Sunday
4/8/14, 12:26 PM

Things are now officially out of control

FDA: Honey With Any Added Sweeteners Isn’t Honey | TIME.com

"The agency said enforcement action is possible against U.S. food businesses or importers if companies try to cut those sweeteners into real honey and do not label the product correctly. If those sweeteners are added, the label should read ‘blend of sugar and honey’ or ‘blend of honey and corn syrup.’"

If you're planning on kissing a Republican, look out

Husband on kissing congressman: ‘He has wrecked my life’ – CNN Political Ticker - CNN.com Blogs

"‘I’m just freaking devastated by the whole deal, man…'"

How screwed are we, you ask?

StateDeptLive
.@JohnKerry: Every place I travel as #SecState, on issue after issue, people depend on American leadership to make a difference. #Budget
4/8/14, 10:33 AM

Some entertainment-reporter guy at Salon makes a startling discovery

Vox.com has no idea how to cover culture - Salon.com

"Being conversant in the Ukraine crisis is different from being conversant in ‘Game of Thrones’"

Way to go! We’ll be back for more. Maybe in a decade or two.

Some people are just easily surprised

Obama Makes Surprise Reversal On Obamacare | ThinkProgress

OK, let's move on

2 Tots, a Sailboat and a Storm Over Parenting - NYTimes.com

"‘I am very much anti-Bubble Wrap and think we should be giving our kids safe risks, but that doesn’t mean exposing them to actual risks,’ said Ashley Merryman, a co-author of a parenting book called ‘NurtureShock.’"

4.07.2014

Watch the world's biggest Tetris

Watch The New York Times: The World's Biggest Tetris Game Online | Hulu

(Sorry about the commercial, but Hulu.)

Fake is the new real: Pushing the boundries of work avoidance

Public schools in order / fake is the new real

No need to thank us, New Hampshire

Scott Brown, pick a party

"Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown was so busy picking a new state that he forgot to pick a party.
Whoever filled out Brown’s formal statement of organization for his campaign exploratory committee left blank the small gray box asking for the candidate’s party affiliation."

A rock-bottom [sic], vapid waste of time [sic]

A bunch of J-school types get all hissy about Jenna Bush Hagger’s NBC News interview with Daddy, ho hum:

The Ethics Of NBC Letting George W. Bush Be Interviewed By His Daughter | ThinkProgress

“…what are the ethical implications of turning over an interview with a former President to his own daughter?"

Plan on watching this one tomorrow

UCONN, NOTRE DAME ADVANCE TO HISTORIC TITLE GAME

"The undefeated titans of the sport this season will meet Tuesday night in an historic championship game when UConn plays Notre Dame. It will mark the first time in NCAA basketball history that unbeaten teams will play for a title when the former Big East rivals face each other."

Apostrophies run riot at AP, Times

'Whitey' Bulger Back's Man's Efforts at Freedom - NYTimes.com

On doing dumb things fast

Eight (No, Nine!) Problems With Big Data - NYTimes.com

"A big data analysis might reveal, for instance, that from 2006 to 2011 the United States murder rate was well correlated with the market share of Internet Explorer: Both went down sharply."

4.06.2014

A bad time in Belgium, 1914

“And over all lay a smell,” as Will Irwin wrote, “which I have never heard mentioned in any book on war— the smell of half a million unbathed men .… It lay for days over every town through which the Germans passed.”

Tuchman, Barbara W. (2009-07-22). The Guns of August: The Outbreak of World War I (Kindle Locations 4903-4905). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Maybe next time he could just order in

$1.5M Hotel Bill for President Obama's One-Day Visit to Brussels | The Weekly Standard

"The president stayed at The Hotel, a twenty-seven story hotel in the center of the [Brussels]. The estimated cost for the president's stay, including about two weeks for an advance team, was $1,522,646.36."

Winter was cold, corporados boo-hoo

U.S. investors look for quick rebound from winter doldrums | Reuters

"(Reuters) - Companies across America are blaming the brutal winter for weak first-quarter results…
Weather was mentioned in 219 S&P 500 earnings conference calls between January 1 and April 1, compared with just 125 in the first three months of 2013."

Forget play

Wilson introduces what could be the basketball of the future

"Wilson's VP of Digital, Tom Gruger, told Engadget that…the goal from the beginning was to 'provide actionable data to players so their training could be more focused on 'actual' rather than 'perceived' performance.'"

Keeping score

Quit abusing 'active shooter' term: Column

"Over the past three-plus decades, according to official homicide data reported annually by law enforcement agencies nationwide, there have been on average about 20 mass shootings a year, with neither an upward or downward trajectory. The only increase has been in publicity and dread."

But great big profits

Even Small Medical Advances Can Mean Big Jumps in Bills - NYTimes.com

"Complication rates from diabetes in the United States are generally higher than in other developed countries. That is true even though the United States spends more per patient and per capita treating diabetes than elsewhere…"