Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How Big is the Solar System?

The National Optical Astronomy Observatory (no I hadn't heard of them either) posted an article a few years ago concerning problems associated with visualizing the distances and sizes associated with the solar system. I had been thinking about this for a few days and this was very helpful. Hundreds of yards of space and planets the size of peppercorns... Wow. Just, wow.

Friday, October 10, 2008

NetFlix Origami - Recycle Paper

Origami is hardly a new art form or hobby, but Netflix is a bit newer. Mix them together though and what do you get? NetFlix Origami! I haven't tried any of these yet, but I thought they were a nifty use of what would otherwise just get thrown in the recycling bin (you do recycle don't you? :0 ). Unfortunately, I am probably not creative enough to come up with any of my own.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

DIY - Energy Drink, EnerT � Bold-Italic-Underline

Saw something mentioned (maybe over on Lifehacker) about DIY energy drinks. I ended up following a few links and then ran across this fellow's post that summarized the "EnerT" recipe. The original blog post seems to be limited to invited readers only, so I was pretty happy to see that Askar chose to put the original in his post, due to his own distrust of exterior links. I figure I will do the same since he appears to have moved on also.

"EnerT Ingredients (32 oz or about 1 liter):

* 2 Tea Bags
* 6 level teaspoon sugar (24 grams)
* A pinch of salt (0.5 grams)
* 2 oz lemon juice (about 55 grams)
* 30 oz boiling water


* 100 calories
* 500 mg Sodium
* 60mg of Potassium (from the lemon juice)
* Caffeine varies, est 100mg-200mg caffeine (depending on the tea used and infusion duration)

Estimated Cost:

* Lemon juice: $0.10
* 2 Tea Bags: $0.06
* Sugar, Salt, water, etc: negligible

Compare to 32 oz Gatorade:

* 200 calories
* 440mg Sodium
* 120mg Potassium
* No caffeine
* Cost: $1.29

Seems the overall plan is to brew some tea and then add sugar, salt and lemon juice... I thought to myself, "Where is the rocket science in that, but then looked at it compared to Gatorade and realized there isn't a whole lotta difference. Have to try this soon.

New Propulsion Options From China?

According to Wired.com the Chinese may have developed a new type of propulsion for satellites and other space vehicles. I believe "Mars in 41 days" was thrown about in there somewhere. I have no idea if it is possible, but it might be interesting to keep an eye on it. I am trying to recall major scientific advances made recently and haven't come up with any so far that would rival this, if it is true.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

WiFi freeloader arrested in Washington

I am not surprised that this happened. The article posits the idea that an unsecured network wants to share. I think that might be a stretch the same as the alarmist reporting that they condemn earlier in the article is. Anyway, I thought this was interesting, as I had just read a post about if not paying for internet at an airport wifi hotspot was stealing or not. Most people seemed to be arguing the idea that the airport is rich and doesn't deserve their money. Odd view point seeing as how they don't have to use the internet...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Schneier on LifeLock

Bruce Schneier spoke out today concerning the personal data security firm LifeLock. LifeLock is the firm that offers to guard you against identity theft and uses the founder's Social Security Number on its ads to show how certain the firm is that they can protect you. I have been somewhat doubting of their claims. I am not convinced that what they offer is needed or economical. It seems more than anything that they are preying on nervous or fearful people.
On a slightly different note, although I generally agree with Bruce on many topics, I question one of the conclusions he had in this article. He felt that one of the best ways to improve identity security was require everyone to get the same protection offered by getting a credit alert placed on individual accounts. Namely, he feels that if the credit companies had to verify credit requests and identities of persons requesting accounts. I feel like much of the security offered by these steps works more b/c there are those that do not have them in place. If everyone had these precautions in place then the protection would be somewhat negated b/c each target would be equal in difficulty rather than some being "low hanging fruit".
I don't feel like I explained that very well. Can't seem to think very well.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

One of the Best Treatments of Piracy I Have Ever Seen

Some of the most vitriolic arguments seen on the internet (outside of religion and politics) concern software piracy. People tend to take this very personally. This guy manages to reasonably cover and refute many of the reasons people give for stealing software and without getting too preachy or pedantic. It is refreshing to see an article like How to Not Be a Software Pirate... makes me think there are still useful things to read on the internet.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

For when you think, "Gee I wonder how I could make..."

The wikiHow page is something of a cross between wikipedia.com (the bane of traditional journalists and encyclopedia salesman everywhere) and any number of How-to sites (Howtoons being one of my favorites). If you need some ideas on how to do something or you are just board and looking for some new ideas for projects, wikiHow is an interesting place to start.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ace Hardware Breaks New Ground in Physics!

According to a recent press release Ace Hardware, in conjunction with Presto canners has managed to make a device able to create a stable link to alternate dimensions. These dimensions can be used to do amazing new feats such as canning 16 GALLONS of material in what would normally be 16 quarts of space. This new functionality shows a four fold increase in capacity. Researchers may be looking at this new technology to aid in particle physics research at areas such as the LHC and other high tech facilities. Look for new breakthroughs at http://www.acehardwareoutlet.com!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Social Engineering Strikes Again

Angela Valdez of the Washington City Paper recently publish a story on the multi-year crime spree of Ameenah Franks. Franks did not pull bank jobs or white collar stock market scams. She did not deal in any large scale frauds or violent robberies. She took relatively small amounts of money (the cash she found at the time) from people she had never met before. How did she manage this? By doing something that I have said for years is a major vulnerability in any security system, acting like you belong.
She walked into numerous building around the DC area and casually searched through desk drawers, file cabinets and common areas nabbing the cash that she found. Citing her intelligence as one of her greatest success factors, she would not only not avoid confrontations (a standard practice for most people when gaining illegal access), but actually would make a point of talking to people. Although caught a number of times and now serving time for her continued thefts, it is not immediately clear how much she has stolen over the years.
To me, more than any purported intelligence, her arrogance seems to play a large part in what she did. She, like many people who knowingly commit criminal acts, justified her actions in numerous ways. It appears that these justifications fed back into her assessment of her own intelligence (I know this is wrong, but this is why it is ok. Other people around me didn't think of it this way, which proves me to be smarter). The confidence in confrontations also seems to be more based in arrogance than anything else. It could be argued that without a healthy (or unhealthy depending on your viewpoint) dose of confident self image one could not pull off the thefts that she did, but it seems that one of the larger reasons she was caught was because she continued to make mistakes based on her belief that she was smart enough to get away with it all. In the end her pattern of behavior and a few persistent and rightly suspicious people put a stop (at least temporarily) to her thieving spree.