Twelve degrees Fahrenheit at the train stop this morning. TWELVE FRIGGING DEGREES!!!

I'm going to be sneezing icicles the rest of the morning. Fortunately, I have a large mug of hot chocolate to sip whilst sitting at my desk perusing the morning news.


Pic of the Week 20070127

Yeah I know, it's not the 27th. I figured I'd label the posts with each week's Saturday date. Maybe that's stupid, I dunno, at this moment it makes perfect sense to me. So it's either genius or sheer lunacy. Meh. Anyways, here ya go. Cheers!

(As always, click on the image for the full size.)

New Blogger Template, W00t!

So I changed to an updated template, and I think it looks pretty spiffy. Not much changed stylistically, but the archives are much nicer, and it's easier to add/remove items from the template without having to edit the code. I like it.

I'm also giving Google Adsense a try, we'll see if anything shows up on the right-hand bar.

US Attorney General Questions Habeas Corpus

Well, ain't this just a kick in the family jewels.

In yet another attempt to create legitimacy for the Bush Administration's many questionable legal practices, US attorney General Alberto Gonzales actually had the audacity to argue before a Congressional committee that the US Constitution doesn't explicitly bestow habeas corpus rights on US citizens. In his view it merely says when the so-called Great Writ can be suspended, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the rights are granted. The Attorney General was being questioned by Sen. Arlen Specter at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Jan. 18. The MSM are not covering this story but Colbert is (Comedy Central, the Colbert Report - video is called 'Exact Words' though I'm having a little trouble playing it from work on my Linux workstation). From the Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel commentary:
While Gonzales's statement has a measure of quibbling precision to it, his logic is troubling because it would suggest that many other fundamental rights that Americans hold dear (such as free speech, freedom of religion, and the right to assemble peacefully) also don't exist because the Constitution often spells out those rights in the negative. It boggles the mind the lengths this administration will go to to systematically erode the rights and privileges we have all counted on and held up as the granite pillars of our society since our nation was founded.
I am heartened, at least, that this has not escaped notice, nor is it just passed over by the media. Methinks Gonzales has learned to channel Janet Reno's spirit...


Pic of the Week

So, new blogger (noticed the labels now?) deserves a new feature from yours truly. Again, it's not like anyone ever reads this except maybe my parents (Hi parentals!) but what the hey.

So, with minimum amounts of fanfare, I present to you the Pic of the Week. For this week. Last week's can be found here, though at the time it wasn't really a Pic of the Week, just a Pic, not even really capitalized... oh, just look at the picture already.

I'll try to keep to a Friday update schedule.

Three More Cool Things to Brighten Your Day

So here are a few more stories to pop in, after I've run through my emails I missed this week whilst at training.

From bears to bullets
Inventor hopes to sell armour suit to the military. By Wade Hemsworth, The Hamilton Spectator (Jan 11, 2007)
Troy Hurtubise, the Hamilton-born inventor who became famous for his bulky bear-protection suit by standing in front of a moving vehicle to prove it worked, has now created a much slimmer suit that he hopes will soon be protecting Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan and U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
You've got to check this article out. He drew inspiration from Star Wars, RoboCop, Batman and video games, though I gotta say it looks like something out of Starship Troopers (the book, not the movie), just add jump packs and good to go.

DRM — It's Not Really About Piracy 2007.01.16 5:03
Hollywood privately admits that DRM is not really about piracy. From the article: 'In a nutshell: DRM's sole purpose is to maximize revenues by minimizing your rights so that they can sell them back to you... Like all lies, there comes a point when the gig is up; the ruse is busted. For the movie studios, it's the moment they have to admit that it's not the piracy that worries them, but business models which don't squeeze every last cent out of customers.' You can take action on Digital Restrictions Management at DefectiveByDesign of the Free Software Foundation, Digital Freedom, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
I really, really hope this kind of news spreads more to counteract the sheer stupidity emanating from the combined orifices of the media and the conglomerates.

And now, saving the best for last...

Home Theater Transformed Into Star Trek Bridge 2007.01.17 11:41
Gary Reign, a guy with apparently way too much time on his hands, built a home theater in his basement. This is not unusual. However, the room is designed, floor to ceiling, as the bridge of a Star Trek style starship. See his photo page for details.
Holy Captain Kirk, this is just too freakingly awesome. I mean, seriously, could you think of a better way to geek out your basement theatre? I have GOT to show this to Donna... tho she may take issue with my desire to override her Coca-Cola theme in the family room downstairs... I mean it, click the link. Do it now. Revel in the glory. Here's a preview:

I feel the need to remodel now... dammit Jim I'm a doctor, not an interior decorator...

Stop-Motion Human Space Invaders

This is too awesome, I had to post it right away. Space Invaders recreated by stop-motion animation of people sitting in auditorium seats, from PistolWimp.


Icon War

I'll bet you don't have any idea what happens on your desktop in the middle of the night. Watch this actual video screen capture to learn the shocking truth!

(Kudos to Steve Bass of PC World)

This just in...

An archaeological team, digging in Washington DC , has uncovered 10,000 year old bones and fossil remains of what is believed to be the first politician.


IE6 Was Unsafe 284 Days In 2006

Slashdot yesterday on a Washington Post's Security Fix blog, where Brian Krebs has toted up the total vulnerability days for IE6 users in 2006. From the article:
For a total 284 days in 2006 (or more than nine months out of the year), exploit code for known, unpatched critical flaws in pre-IE7 versions of the browser was publicly available on the Internet. Likewise, there were at least 98 days last year in which no software fixes from Microsoft were available to fix IE flaws that criminals were actively using to steal personal and financial data from users... In contrast, Internet Explorer's closest competitor in terms of market share — Mozilla's Firefox browser — experienced a single period lasting just nine days last year in which exploit code for a serious security hole was posted online before Mozilla shipped a patch to remedy the problem.
So the questions remains, why would you still be using IE and not Firefox?


The Man in the Hat Returns

Lucas, Ford to Start Filming New Indiana Jones Film 2007.01.02 11:36

George Lucas has announced that the script for the long-rumored fourth Indiana Jones film has been finalized and is to begin filming this year, with Harrison Ford once again in front of the camera. From the article:
In a statement, the 64-year-old Ford said he was ready for another turn as the globe-trotting archaeologist. "I'm delighted to be back in business with my old friends," he said. "I don't know if the pants still fit, but I know the hat will."
Woohoo! I know the question was raised, can Indy still be relevant (as the first three were made in the 80's) but come on, they were set in early WWII era anyways. I think the whole good-vs-evil theme is more relevant now than ever. I'm curious as to what storyline they'll follow, would they try to tie in to contemporary themes such as terrorism or can we just expect a good old fashioned, pistol-and-whip slingin' time...


New Year's Weekend Roundup

Happy New Year! Hope you had an enjoyable weekend and got to spend it with friends and family. I actually got to spend Saturday alone with my wife, whilst the girls spent the night at their friends' house. We had a relaxing dinner at Mealey's in New Market MD (awesome crab dip) and then caught a late show of Casino Royale. Little bit long, but highly enjoyable, I look forward to the new Bond franchise.

Today I started taking the train from Monocacy direct to Silver Spring. Since most of DC is off today (but not me, natch) the commute was extraordinarily light. We'll see how it goes tomorrow, but it still seems a much, much better choice than the bus/metro combo.

So, on to the stories from Slashdot.

The NSFW HTML Attribute 2006.12.29 8:32
Over at The Frosty Mug Revolution, PJ Doland makes a compelling case for a new HTML attribute in the spirit of the highly-regarded 'nofollow' attribute promoted by Google — the NSFW attribute (rel='nsfw'). His original idea has been refined and expanded by positive comments from readers, resulting in a semantic solution to the issue he raises in the original post. From the article: 'Content creators can apply the attribute to paragraph tags, div tags, or any other block-level element. Doing so will indicate that the enclosed content is not safe for work. Visitors will be able to configure their browsers to block display of just the content enclosed by the flagged block-level element. This isn't about censorship. It is about making us all less likely to accidentally click on a goatse.cx link when our boss is standing behind us. It is also about making us feel more comfortable posting possibly objectionable content by giving visitors a means of easily filtering that content.'

Slashdot's Games of the Year 2006.12.29 14:25
Not everyone who works on Slashdot plays games. Enough of us do, though, that I thought it would be interesting to tap my co-workers to see what folks would call their 'game of the year'. Below are comments on the best gaming of 2006 from Chris Nandor, CmdrTaco, Chris Brown, Scuttlemonkey, and myself. Then, once you've read that, we need your help in the comments. What was the game you couldn't put down? Perhaps it was over quickly, but you know you'll be thinking about it in the future? Was it a next-gen title, or something for the good old PlayStation 2? In your opinion, what was the best game of the year?

Darwin Awards 2006 2006.12.31 10:23
The year is coming to and end so it is time to see how our genepool is doing. Darwin Awards 2006 includes everything from whacking RPGs with hammers to recreating experiments by Franklin.

GMail Vulnerable To Contact List Hijacking 2007.01.01 10:09
By simply logging in to GMail and visiting a website, a malicious website can steal your contact list, and all their details. The problem occurs because Google stores the contact list data in a Javascript file. So far the attack only works on Firefox, and doesn't appear to work in Opera or Internet explorer 7. IE6 was un-tested as of now.