Archive for December, 2009

The Darwin Show

Woohoo! Stealing article summaries and then linking to the article itself! It’s a lazy bloggers dream! Now, back to lying around drinking espresso and watching tv.

The offensive against the atavistically religious and the misunderstanders may not be quite what it seems, or at least not quite as straightforwardly targeted as it seems. There is little public understanding of evolutionary theory, but there is little public understanding of physical chemistry or thermodynamics or bio-informatics.

LRB · Steven Shapin · The Darwin Show.


An anonymous reader writes:

“Adobe Systems’ Flash and Acrobat Reader products will become the preferred targets for criminal hackers [pdf] in 2010, surpassing Microsoft Office applications, a security vendor predicted this week. ‘Cybercriminals have long picked on Microsoft products due to their popularity. In 2010, we anticipate Adobe software, especially Acrobat Reader and Flash, will take the top spot,’ security vendor McAfee said in its ‘2010 Threat Predictions’ report PDF. ‘We have absolutely seen an increase in the number of attacks, around Reader in particular and also Flash Player to some extent,’ CTO Kevin Lynch told reporters at the Adobe Max conference in October. ‘We’re working to decrease the amount of time between when we know about a problem and when we release a fix. That used to be a couple of months; now it’s within two weeks for critical issues.'”

Slashdot IT Story | Adobe Flash To Be Top Hacker Target In 2010.


A lawsuit is in process against the patent holders of genes that are known to detect early signs of breast and ovarian cancer. A federal judge allowed a lawsuit to proceed against the Patent and Trademark Office and Myriad Genetics that was awarded exclusive rights to human genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, known to detect early signs of breast and ovarian cancer.

The lawsuit, which is the first of its kind, claims that the patents violate free speech by restricting research. According to the dozens of patients and researchers, the genes cannot be patented because they exist as naturally occurring products of nature. Myriad did not invent or create anything new, they pinpointed information that was apart of the genetic code as it exists within the natural population. The question therefore arises of how a corporate entity can be allowed to own, and brand, a segment of life?

via Trademarked Genes | Reality Sandwich.

How long before Shannon Wheeler sends me a cease and desist letter?

I can’t see it happening. To be honest, i can’t even see what it is i’m typing.

Too much alcohol man.

Aug 22, 2005

Dec 17, 2006

an orgy of alcohol and caffiene

That pretty much describes the past 5 days for me, and its been awesome. I just hope i can stop at some point…

After fussing and fretting on making the best damn espresso my new toy is capable of I’ve decided that, fuck it, I’m just happy i can have decent coffee whenever i like. I just don’t have the focus or money to blow on being a full-on espresso geek. I’m thinking about swearing off instant coffee all together though, as it seems it doesn’t mix well with espresso. Kinda like alternating between whisky, wine and beer all night and waking up in the morning unable to speak, only it’s more like your organs are trying to crawl urgently out of the nearest available orifice.

The important thing seems to be keeping the machine clean.

Anyways, I’m off to drink excessively and scheme interesting posts for the new year. Here’s another too much coffee man comic strip to squish through your mind grapes. Be sure to check out the too much coffee man website for more.

Too Much Coffee Man!

too much… too much…

Getting an espresso machine for christmas i’m sure is going to be a mixed blessing. Right now I’m somewhat obsessed with making the perfect cup. Well, not the perfect cup but the best cup i can. Thing is, i tend towards longer drinks like americanos and lattes. I think the key thought is getting the basic unit of consumption down – the espresso.

I’ve always figured that making a good espresso was a complicated process but aparently i didn’t realise just how complicated it was. Water, tamping, how much to fill the filter up, when to stop the extraction process – all of these are important steps. Tamping for example, the compacting of the grounds in the filter, depends largely on the amount of even pressure you apply, and really affects the taste. As does how much you put in there in the first place. 7-8 grams is ideal, it seems. Also, in the case of my machine, when do I stop the pump? Keeping an eye on the colour of the liquid coming out seems the best way to go, but what different does it make to taste? Experimentation is needed. Every machine is different and, especially with the cheaper ones where you can’t alter the pressure or temperature, figuring out the maximal elements can take time. And dedication. And the desire to geek out.

Anyway, best xmas present EVER.

Most if not all the information on making espresso that is rattling around my head I groked from the extremely detailed If your interested in any aspect of espresso and the making of espress I totally recommend it. Here is a good place to start.

And whilst we’re on the topic of coffee be sure to check out the exploits of Shannon Wheeler’s existential ‘super’hero, Too Much Coffee Man. I’m reading this arc about cats and fish right now. It starts here but, you know, do click about the archives like.

Right, I’m gonna go eat some toast and try and figure out some stuff involving my espresso maker.

#021: Espresso

Cory Doctorow’s latest piece for the guardian:


My latest Guardian column, “The BBC’s digital rights plans will wreak havoc on open source software,” describes how the BBC’s plan to add DRM to its high-def broadcasts will exclude free/open source software from use in digital television applications, slowing down innovation, raising costs, and harming the public interest. The BBC’s regulator, Ofcom, will soon hold a second consultation on the Beeb’s plan to add DRM to high-def broadcasts, and I’m urging them to get the BBC to answer for this consequence of the DRM plan.

BBC’s plan to kick free/open source out of UK TV devices


Boxing Day:The Origin

Boxing Day is celebrated on December 26th. It is a public holiday in Grenada.

If it falls on a Saturday or a Sunday, the working day immediately preceding or following Boxing Day is considered a legal holiday. Many believe, Boxing Day, also known as the Feast of St. Stephen (after the first Christian martyr***) originated in England in the middle of the nineteenth century under Queen Victoria. They said it originated as a holiday for members of the merchant class to give boxes containing food and fruit, clothing, and/or money to trades people and servants.

The gifts were an expression of gratitude similar to the bonuses many employers offer their employees today. These gifts, usually given in boxes, gave the holiday it’s name, “Boxing Day”.

Others say the tradition stem from Roman times when money to pay for athletic games was collected in boxes. Amongst the ruins of Pompeii, boxes made out of earthenware with slits in the top full of coins have been found.

Later the Romans brought the idea of collecting boxes to Britain, and monks and clergy soon used similar boxes to collect money for the poor at Christmas. On the day after Christmas, the priests used to open the boxes and distribute the contents to the poor of the village. Thus this day came to be called Boxing Day.

via Boxing Day:The Origin «

The vast Santanic conspiracy

Christmas may quickly be receeding into the past tense but the interesting christmas related posts keep coming!

Christian soldiers, marching as to war in the pitched battle for the meaning of Christmas, worry that Santa is a tool of the vast Satanic conspiracy. To be sure, the similarity of their names, identical but for one transposed letter, is provocative. Didn’t Mia Farrow use a Scrabble board, in Rosemary’s Baby, to expose her grandfatherly neighbor with the flyaway eyebrows for the warlock he was, shuffling the letters of his name to reveal his true identity? Could the Religious Wrong be right, just this once? Is Santa the Deceiver’s way of hijacking the Christ child’s birthday? Kriss Kringle is a corruption of the German dialectal Christkindl, “little Christ child.” Were Satan and Santa separated at birth?

via Las Vegas Weekly : – The vast Santanic conspiracy.

The Joy of Swik

Among the many Winter Festivals that are practised, none is stranger than the Discordian festival of Swik, pronounced ‘swik’ or ‘christmas’ – although not to be confused with the Christian festival with the same pronunciation and dates. An ancient Discordian tradition, dating back at least twenty years, states “the joy of Swik is Getting, Shouting, and Passing out”, but it is widely recognised that Swik is a festival to be endured rather than enjoyed (much like a Klingon rite of passage). One does not have to be a Discordian to be participating in Swik… most people are simply trapped in the festival through no fault of their own.

Only a Game: The Joy of Swik.

< via >

Ah, boxing day. The ultimate day of lazing around. After a late late night of boozing and talking and watching Billy Elliot for the first time, activity is at an all time low.  I’ve managed to emerge into the day without a hangover but the same cannot be said for my girlfriend, who is currently napping. I’m discovering espresso based over-dosing in the sanctity of my own home with my new espresso machine. Right now I’m at the violent shaking stage…. This is definately my last latte for a while.

So, just some quick insight into Billy Elliot. I know this film has been out for quite some time now, and the fact that I hadn’t seen it before last night could be seen as blaspheme in some circles, but that’s just the way i roll. As a piece of filmmaking it is suburbly written and constructed. It reminds me of the very best of the holywood narrative technique and directing, cut with a healthy dose of social realism played not only for pathos but also for humour.

And that’s all she wrote. For now. I think i’m about to vibrate outside of the visual spectrum so before I do i’m gonna finish this coffee and flick through a new book on writing i just got. More on that later.

peace and fucking.


He wrought his hands and cast his gaze. Like a torch, a touch, it turned upon each nook of the room, illuminating queer knicknackery and turning it over in its hands. This cannot be. Truly, such remarkable craftsmanship. Leads nowhere though, God in knots cannot be let out. Truly, truly, truth be selfserving and you cannot serve the self. You must serve with out the self. This is society, surely, this is the sacred way. Those that have short short term memories memorize nothing so nothing can be eradicated. Maybe it’s all just corporeal road blocks so nothing truly is ever lost. Maybe it is losing that is the sacred way. Losing the self to the way or merely along the way. After the drop eyelids begin to grow heavy, complaining of gravity, the way of sight is without the losing. Nay take not lest you be sure of which way the taking leads. For many ways lead no place, looping only always back upon the drop. The drop may ease anxiety. But is it honest to drop anxiously?

Angels depicted heralding the birth of Jesus in nativity scenes across the world are anatomically flawed, according to a scientist who claims they would never be able to fly.

via Angels can’t fly, scientist says | Telegraph – 23narchy in the UK.

A desperate Boston mom called 911 late Saturday night because she couldn’t get her 14-year old son to stop playing video games. A police spokesman said the call “was a little unusual, but by no means is it surprising.”

via Mom calls 911 over son’s video game habit Boing Boing.

The Advent season is a fun time. For many Christians, it is the happiest season of the year. The joy comes from the anticipation: “Joy to the world, the Lord has come. Let earth receive her king.”I do not desire to dim the lights of Christmas, but it might be helpful to some to hear what the stories of Jesus birth are really about.There are four versions of the life of Jesus. We call them the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Only two of the versions say anything about the birth of Jesus.Mark, the first of the Gospels, begins the Jesus story with Jesus as an adult. John, the last Gospel written, likewise says nothing about the birth of Jesus. Matthew tells the birth story in only a few short paragraphs. Luke’s version of the beginnings of Jesus is four times as long as that of Matthew.Those two versions are very different. Luke plays with a much larger cast. His flair for the dramatic is pronounced. He includes an abundance of poetry and music with the support of angelic hosts.Reconciling the two versions has been tried by many, but never with success. They are two different stories. They each have their own distinctive version of the events that surrounded the birth of Jesus.

via Christian Story of Jesus’s Birth Is a Myth Born of Politics | Disinformation.

Cat Hepburn

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