No, Digg, No! (no digg)

Filed under: rants,useless @ 17:14

I’ve long hated slashdot. The articles that make it to the front page are typically pretty good, but the summaries are sometimes misleading, poorly worded or written by someone who clearly had no idea what the article was actually about. Worse, and the actual source of my hate, are the comments each submission acquires.

Whenever I read the comments on an article about Quantum Information (or some other field I actually know something about), I find the number of comments which contain pertinent information to be small, and those that contain accurate information to be entirely negligible. Reading the comments of such articles is infuriating. Why people read a naive explanation of some physical principal and then assume they know all there is to know about it, I don’t understand. Why they claim this knowledge and then publicly demonstrate their ignorance is further beyond me. Extrapolating, I long ago decided that comments on all of the articles were, with high probability, similarly misinformed, so I simply stopped reading slashdot. A better solution might have been to stop reading the comments, but knowing just how terrible the comments were, I lacked the will power to stay away from them; I was the moth, they the flame.

To get my nerdy news fix, I started reading digg. The technical articles there are of a narrower scope, but it’s worth it for the comments which typically come in only two varieties: “no digg” and “I also like cheese. digg++”.

Refreshing. Useless, but refreshing. I never get sucked into reading digg comments because I know ahead of time that they contain identically no information. In particular, there’s nothing there to raise my blood pressure.

Until recently.

A few days ago, I saw an article on digg titled Prof says there’s no hacker he can’t foil. I scoped it out and saw that it was a poorly written bit of science journalism about Hoi-Kwong Lo’s most recent paper: Simulation and Implementation of Decoy State Quantum Key Distribution over 60km Telecom Fiber.

The result is a nice practical demonstration. The article, however, makes the great mistake of confusing an eavesdropper (someone attached to the medium through which you’re sending information from one place to another) and a hacker(/cracker, a person with far more tools at his or her disposal, e.g. social engineering). This error on the part of the journalist made for some really disappointing comments on digg: exactly the sort of comments I try to avoid by steering clear of slashdot. I don’t know if the digg culture is changing, if quantum information brings people out of the woodwork who should remain there, or if this was a statistical aberration. In any case, I’ll have to be more careful from now on.


oddly enough I read an article about a month ago on how to spoof a photon. This proff needs to catch up to the times.

no digg.


Of course this protects against sniffing/mitm attacks etc.. but if a ‘hacker’ just broke into the computer connected to the network, they could probably extracted the data from the network card after it has been decoded, or even from disk if it isn’t encrypted.

FYI, the actual result doesn’t claim otherwise, but digg++.


To allude that your infoilable, clearly is a act of arrogance. Silly human.

Your spelling, then, is clearly not an act of arrogance.


its gonna be open season on this guy

Perhaps. If the “hackers” out there demonstrate a level of reading comprehension on par with that of your own. Or if they feel like punishing a happily innocent scientist for having a ‘sensationalized to the point of misinformation’ article written about him. I admit either as a possibility.


This is all well and good. It’s not a surprise that this overly “intelligent” physics geek made such an outrageous claim. I suppose he didn’t take into consideration that this system could still be “hacked” with good old social engineering.

So close. You see the problem, but miss the source. I’ll give it a ‘I thought about digging it but decided to abstain in the hopes the aggregate would know better than I do’ for potentially leading people in the right direction and allowing some future commenter to correct your misconception.


I read about quantam crypography two years ago. Old shit. No digg.

Ah… this one might be my favorite. Dumb shit. No digg.


dugg for the comments more than the article! haha.

I also like cheese.


Paperwork Sucks

Filed under: rants @ 17:17

I renewed my vehicle registration with the California DMV sometime in October or November. The DMV was (unlike last year) quite prompt in both initiating and following through with the transfer of information and funds. I, however, proceeded to lose the registration card and sticker after they sent it to me. Now I have to pay $32 to get new copies. I could lie and tell them I never received the stuff in the first place, but lying sucks. Fine. I have an appointment at 3:10 pm Monday afternoon to straighten everything out. Despite the pain of being at the DMV, I’d rather negotiate this treacherous path in person than hope for miracles to occur behind the desk in some DMV warehouse of trained monkeys.

The bigger issue? There need be no appointments and no monkeys (trained or otherwise) involved in this situation. Here’s what I had to do. I called the DMV hotline and found out that they could do nothing for me. Nothing. So I printed out a paper copy of DMV form REG 156 and filled in the little boxes by hand. I see, too, that in the corner, this form will eventually be initialled by some poor sap. How many people have to touch this piece of paper before I get my sticker? At least I was able to print it from online rather than being forced to pick it up in person.

I should also note that part of my reason for deciding to speak to someone face to face is that the exact names of the bits I lost (the registration card and the little year sticker) are not defined anywhere on the form or the website as far as I can see. Presumably, they are explicitly named in the missive originally sent to me by the DMV. But that’s lost (indeed, I checked the “Lost” box on the form). It reminds me of inquiring of your bank the number one should call after having lost one’s credit card. “The number is on the back of the card” is not a helpful response. So, in order to determine which of several likely looking checkboxes on the form I need to check, I need to ask someone.

Incomplete information aside, there’s a big problem here. The DMV has a giant computer database of vehicles and owners (or rather, I pray to all I call holy they do; I can’t fathom doing everything with files and cabinets). Stovepipe a damn user interface on the thing and allow me to access some of it from the web. Asking for replacement stickers cannot possibly be a very difficult task, but doing it via paper and several middlemen is costly and time consuming. That and I hate it.

Somebody get these people some IT.


Just what I needed

Filed under: rants @ 14:50

So I’ve been freaking out these past few days due to the imminent doom that is giving group meeting after having done asymptotically little work so far. Not so bad as the trials before others, certainly, but not fun, anyway. Andrew’s been really helpful, though. He’s got some really good ideas.

Anyway, in the midst of working on some QFT homework, I looked up at Google News only to find that the debates about homosexuality in the Anglican Communion are getting more and more intense as time goes on. Most recently, the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada have been asked to voluntarily and temporarily (three years) step aside from one of the main steering committees of the global Anglican Communion. Us Americans are in the dog house for consecrating an openly gay bishop currently living with his (male) partner. The Canadians got into trouble after one of their dioceses developed a liturgy for the blessing of same sex unions, and then used it.

This is exactly the sort of thing that pisses me off most. A church is guilty of refusing priveleges based on demographics: discrimination at its finest. These are people who believe in your God, love eachother, want to get married and happen to be gay. I don’t believe the Bible ever defines marriage, but I could be wrong – I’m no biblical scholar.

But, it doesn’t even matter. Gay marriage isn’t the heart of the issue; it’s homosexuality itself. The most vitriolic opponent, Primate Akinola of Nigeria says

I cannot think of how a man in his senses would be having a sexual relationship with another man. It is so unnatural, so unscriptural. Even in the world of animals, dogs, cows, lions, we don’t hear of such things.

First off, has this guy ever even seen a dog? Secondly, as for homosexuality being “unscriptual” or “outside the biblical boundaries” or a “Satanic attack” (as he also states in the article) ever read Deuteronomy? That’s in the bible, and it says some creepy-ass shit about marriage and sexual relations. Plus there’s all that stuff sprinkled throughout scripture about genocide, abusing women and slavery. But I guess we can ignore that slight difficulty in interpreting scripture as long as we send a few sodomites to hell.

I have one question to ask each of the Anglican Primates out there: “Do you consume, or have you ever consumed shrimp?” If your answer was “yes”, we need to talk. In particular, you need to listen.


Isn’t it great that women can do science too?

Filed under: academe,rants,thoughts @ 01:52

*vision of a thousand hackels rising on each of a thousand people*

Down the hall from my office is a poster of “Women in Science & Mathematics”. It shows about twenty or so famous women, noting their respective fields of studies: astronaut, theoretical nuclear physicist, geneticist, mathematician, etc. Every time I walk down the hall, I see this poster and I cringe.

Read more…


Oh ye of little technological savvy

Greg says I should put a little shoutout to DrLP whenever sprachwaffe get’s updated. Come on, Greg, ever here of RSS?

But, really it’s not a bad idea. Who in their right mind would feed off of sprachwaffe. Except me, of course, but it’s for administrative purposes, I swear. And I think Paul.za does too. Him I have no excuse for.

But speaking of technological incompetence, what do you get when you cross William Gibson, Bruce Springsteen and a fifteen year old script kiddie? Some form of heinous, ill-formed, leeching invertebrate who is but one example of the hoarde of “beta users” WordPress has managed to accumulate.

The upcoming version of WordPress is in beta at the moment and is in need of testing. Since nothing here is terribly important (I think we can all admit that, right?), I decided to make blogwaffe a testbed for WordPress as of the now passed alpha phase of the development. WordPress is an extremely open community; I didn’t have to sign up for the privilege (if you want to consider it as such) of doing this, I just downloaded the software and had at it. And I’ve kept having at it all the way through alpha and into beta in the here and now.

Read more…


Signed, a Hollaback Girl

Filed under: music,rants @ 00:59

An open letter to Gwen Stefani;

Though your latest album is very good technically, you manage to pull of a mere “mediocre” aesthetically. Perhaps I am being unfair; I have simply heard samples from all the songs on your album but have heard only two songs in their entireties (What you waiting for? and Hollaback Girl). However, any album containing the latter must necessarily fall short of excellence. It is this song which this letter addresses.

Perhaps it is ironic that I am chastising you by verbiage rather than meeting you back at the bleachers (sans principals and student teachers, naturally) to engage in a pugilistic fracas the outcome of which would determine our relation in the current social hierarchy. I hope the irony is not lost on you, but after hearing the level of sophistication intrinsic in your lyrics, I must concede that that hope may be in vain.

As reported by imdb, you were born in 1969; thus, you are thirty-five years old. I bring this up not to debase you with unfair societal impressions regarding age and women (which, again ironically, is, in part, the subject of the other of your songs I have heard in full) but only to point out that your Junior High experience occurred roughly twenty years ago. Given that fact, and even setting propriety aside, how much artistic value is there in demanding some naive school girl set aside her pom-poms and face up to her back stabbing defamation by engaging in physical combat? Perhaps this song is a study in anachronism? Or in some otherwise incongruous juxtaposition? Alternatively, you may simply be trying too hard.

Actually, I think I can answer my own, above question dealing with artistic value. In the situation set forth in Hollaback Girl is a great deal of substance which could have been presented very poignantly in a piece of like theme. However, your song lyrically consists of callow, fatuous drivel: even below the level of typical pop. I expected better things from you. Previously I have had a great deal of respect for your work. If it weren’t for the fact that you are riotously hot, I might be even more critical of your recent work. As it is, I bigotedly and unabashedly make allowances.

Yours in Critique,


Call your local CBS and NBC affiliates

Filed under: news,rants @ 13:20

and tell them they’re a bunch of douche-bags.

Both networks refused [Reuters] to air advertisements by the United Church of Christ [Flash warning] welcoming homosexuals to their church and congregations. The ads show bouncers refusing entrance to two men holding hands at an unnamed church and proclaims, “Jesus didn’t turn people away. Neither do we.” Last spring, these ads drew no complaints when aired in primarily republican test markets, but now (post cracker-assed-america ’04), the two networks find the ads too controversial to put over the airwaves.

In a written statement to the church, CBS, a unit of Viacom, said the fact that the Bush administration had proposed a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman made the advertisement “unacceptable for broadcast.”

WHAT? Are they out of their festering minds? The commercials welcomes people to a place of worship. They don’t even mention marriage! And are you, CBS, really allowing your policy to be set by the current administration’s platform? Not law, not even policy, but PLATFORM. Well you can take that plank and shove it up your namby-pamby, homophobic rectum. Your actions are unacceptable and downright disgusting.

And what did NBC have to say for themselves?

NBC said the ad violated a long-standing policy of the network not to allow commercials that dealt with issues of public controversy.

Props for being a little less evil than CBS, NBC, but come on, you’ve never aired any controversial ads? Or perhaps your definition of “long-standing” is “since 11/2/04”, because I’d say just about any political ad deals with issues of “public controversy”. Nuts to you too, NBC.

ABC, at least is not such demon spawn. They’ve aired the ad, and even interviewed Robert Chase, the church’s communications director, about the situation on Good Morning America. Though, the the cynic in me says, “only because they get a chance to jab the other networks”. Well, I don’t care. Good on ya’, ABC, even if your track record is… interesting.

And people complain about the liberal media.


An open letter to Safari.app

Filed under: rants @ 22:01

Sometimes I type fast. Sometimes I type slow. Be it circadian, topical, mood dependent (anyone have a good adjective for “mood dependent”) or otherwise contextual, there it is. Plain and true.

So, for the love of all you find sacred, stop fucking autocompleting my URL whenever I pause for more than 1.9 ┬Ás.

Now, I love autocompletion. It makes my life worthwhile; without the small convenience that is autocompletion, I’d probably be pushed just over the edge into crawling under a rock to die. So don’t even think about getting rid of the feature.

Just get rid of your overly aggressive time parameter. Really, who the hell needs a time parameter anyway? A good command line uses the TAB key to autocomplete. Most web browsers (to be consistent with the GUIs in which they run) opt for the DOWN ARROW. But you, you have to try and do it automatically. That’d be just fine, if your guesses weren’t the rancid chunks of goat testes they are. No, I do not want to go to http://mathworld.wolfram.com/search/, I’d rather http://mathworld.wolfram.com/. I don’t care how many times I’ve been to the former over the later, I have never typed in the former. Don’t take me there. Don’t think I want to go there, especially when I hit the enter key just this side of too slowly and you’ve appended the “search/” before I’ve been able to react (and don’t blame my reflexes – they’re decent). I don’t care if the sites offer similar functionality, you know that’s not what this is about. I know what I want and I’m not about to be persuaded by a less than sentient, over-zealous (if otherwise likable) string of 1’s and 0’s that thinks it knows what’s good for me.

Well. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll shape up fast or lose me to Firefox, which I should have been using all this time before I got attached to you.

So watch yourself. One more little quibble and I am gone.


Wake Up

Filed under: news,rants @ 01:06

Fuck you and your damn cracker ass, America. Do you not see what has happened in this country over the last four years? Sure, 9/11, you say. I agree. Terrorists sure as hell got us. They got us good, and I think our president did a good job directly after the attacks leading this country toward safety and confidence once more. So, yeah, you can have that one. Take it – I could bitch about that, but I don’t need to. There’s enough other bullshit to air out, that conceding one point without debate won’t hurt a bit. Hell, you can have Afghanistan too. We may have been a bit over the top in some areas and a bit lax in others, but you can have it.

Iraq. The UN. Halliburton. Abu Ghraib. The Geneva Convention. Weapons of Mass Stupidity. The Kyoto Protocols. Intelligence. International Relations. The Supreme fucking Court. The Christian Right and Gay Rights (read “Gay Rights” as “Rights”). A vague and ill-defined war. Manipulation, Indoctrination, Mis/Disinformation. The Deficit. Taxation.

You gave it all justification. You have given him the right, nay, the responsibility to step it up a notch or two and screw you, his very voter base, over even more.

And, no intelligence is not a character flaw (though nepotism and corruption are), yes the rest of the world matters (and not just as a source of revenue), and, quite frankly, I don’t think you have any idea about Bush’s policies except his stance on gay marriage, his religous background, and his belief that Arab people do, in fact, exist.

Every one of you in your damn 51% majority can go sit on it and rotate. And rotate hard. Nuts to your malleability, nuts to your misconceived sense of morality, and balls to your aforementioned cracker ass.


Ugh — 02:15

Going to bed. Have a headache.

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