Posts tagged with "news"
You'll need to temporarily disable NoScript to view this video if you use it, and unfortunately it does need Flash. It will be worth it though, a soberingly hilarious video of Jon Stewart from The Daily Show reviewing CNBC [Wikipedia link].
I watched CNBC's Squawk Box [Wikipedia link] a few times for economics homework a few years ago. It really was painful. Glad to know it wasn't just me who thought these people were full of hot air, smoke, mirrors and other such whatnot.
The description from the video:
Daily Show: CNBC Gives Financial Advice
CNBC's Rick Santelli is angry that those loser homeowners are going to get bailed out.
This post doesn't validate as XHTML 1.0; I just copied the code they gave me. Perhaps one day I'll figure out how to reformulate this to be standards compliant, but for now I figured the message was more important.
Viva Jon Stewart.
Zbigniew Brzezinski's on The Daily Show in 2007
Unfortunately as much as I love Wikipedia and use it daily, I am finding their trigger happy approach to deleting articles (or should I say shooting articles?) before they can be thoroughly fleshed out because a select group of people question it's notability is becoming difficult to cope with.
For example, this morning in class I was telling someone about "Manichaean paranoia", the very apt term Zbigniew Brzezinski coined when he appeared on The Daily Show a couple of years ago to describe the actions of George W. Bush. He defined it by saying Bush believed that because he was morally superior to the terrorists, it gave him permission to perform immoral acts. One could draw parallels here to Israel's recent actions in the Gaza Strip too for example.
ASIDE: Crooks and Liars has the video of Zbigniew Brzezinski's appearance on The Daily Show you can download and watch.
I had my machine open so I fired up Wikipedia and attempted to find the page I had remembered reading before... but it was completely gone. Bummer :-(.
I clearly don't have an audience as big as Wikipedia's, but I feel this article must be preserved. If anything else, by putting it here I can link back to it in the future instead of linking to Wikipedia.
Manichaean paranoia is a rhetorical phrase used in one television show by the American politician Zbigniew Brzezinski to describe the morals of the George W. Bush presidency. [...]
In the The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Brzezinski "defines" the phrase thusly:the notion that somehow or other he's [former president George W. Bush] leading the forces of good against the empire of evil, the notion that somehow or other in that setting, the fact that we are morally superior justifies us committing immoral acts
and otherwise pleads to the audience's education to accept this phrase as valid. 
The article then started to discuss how different religious people feel they have moral superiority over others and attempt to impose themselves, but while I think that's true (with dangerous consequences) I don't think that was really what Brzezinski was referring to. Perhaps the debate over this part of the article was what got it deleted.
In the meantime, feel free to use the term "Manichaean paranoia"... let's get it out there!
Big Tom shared this article he found interesting from the BBC on Google Reader yesterday.
A bottle discarded at a waste site in the north-western US contains the world's oldest sample of bomb- grade plutonium, scientists say.
The headline would have really grabbed my attention by itself, but it's spooky given that Singapore is also dealing with a dangerous war relic people just found recently:
SINGAPORE: There was plenty of police and military activity around Clementi Avenue 1 and Commonwealth Avenue West on Tuesday. The cause for the alarm was an unexploded World War 2 relic.
Experts from the Singapore Armed Forces said it was a Japanese aerial bomb dating from the Second World War.
Unexploded Japanese relics, weapons grade plutonium in the US... and here I was thinking the oldest example of a dangerous weapon of this grade was a bottle of aged Johnny Walker. A single drop of that stuff can go through lead I've been told. It certainly tastes radioactive.
I'll be sticking to coffee as my beverage of vice along with perhaps a glass of Barossa Valley [Wikipedia] red sometimes, thank you!
Terribly good jokes told by people who can't tell jokes; Barack Obama's inauguration on TV; relieved farewell to Dubbya; more relieved Sarah Palin didn't win than Barack did; silly thing John McCain said; the American founding fathers; Thomas Jefferson on church and state; getting a Nikon D60 for Christmas; pixel density is more important then megapixels; my old FinePix S9600; how bridge cameras compare to real single lens reflex (SLR) cameras; realising shows shouldn't be recorded at 2am; an exciting new hobby and discovering green tea is... green tea!
So it was Saturday night and I was doing what every 22 year old was doing... doing Google searches for compression algorithms. I couldn't remember much about the acronym for this one particular algorithm other than it was three letters and began with "P", so in a half asleep, bored daze I was trying different combinations of letters.
After a few searches around 23:16 Singapore time I noticed something peculiar: underneath all the headings for every single result, Google was reporting that "this site may be harmful to your computer".
ASIDE: I knew something was up when even links to Wikipedia were being given the same suspicious treatment... I chuckled and assumed this must have been because of the comparatively poor performance of Google Knol highlighted recently!
It wasn't long before all the major wire services and news companies were picking up the story. I had no idea the little thing I had witnessed would become such an overnight news sensation. CNET ran an initial story (Google taking security a little too seriously?) and follow-up story (Google warns entire Internet is malware), but the BBC summarised the debacle the best in their "Human error" hits Google search report:
For a period on Saturday, all search results were flagged as potentially harmful, with users warned that the site "may harm your computer".
Google attributed the fault to human error and said most users were affected for about 40 minutes.
The internet search engine works with stopbadware.org to ascertain which sites install malicious software on people's computers and merit a warning.
The list of malevolent sites is regularly updated and handed to Google.
When Google updated the list on Saturday, it mistakenly flagged all sites as potentially dangerous.
Marissa Mayer, VP, Search Products & User Experience at Google posted and revised an entry on the offical Google Blog:
If you did a Google search between 6:30 a.m. PST and 7:25 a.m. PST this morning, you likely saw that the message "This site may harm your computer" accompanied each and every search result. This was clearly an error, and we are very sorry for the inconvenience caused to our users.
What happened? Very simply, human error. [...] We maintain a list of [malware] sites through both manual and automated methods. We work with a non-profit called StopBadware.org to come up with criteria for maintaining this list, and to provide simple processes for webmasters to remove their site from the list.
We periodically update that list and released one such update to the site this morning. Unfortunately (and here's the human error), the URL of "/" was mistakenly checked in as a value to the file and "/" expands to all URLs.
Really gives you an idea about how valuable and critical a site like Google is thesedays that an error like this can generate so much news coverage in such a short amount of time.
This incident has also increased my already heightened doubt and scepticism I have for most content filtering and malware warning systems. There has been much publicity about the ethical side to warning users of and blocking sites with questionable content, but this is an example of the technical side of such a system failing. While this is an extreme case, mistakes of this kind are unavoidable.
It also chills my blood to think about another scenario: if all it took was a malformed string on the server side, what other mistakes have been made in the past that perhaps haven't been reported? I could go on for paragraphs about this, but I think you're smart enough to visualise the implications of this.
As for the algorithm I was looking for? Turns out it was PAQ. Not Bill Kurtis.
I was about ready to write off 2009 already after so many problems I had been having, but within 24 hours the year seems to have redeemed itself. Perhaps I'll be able to live through this year after all!
Starting from the 1st of January, the following internet problems had sprouted, but since Friday they've all been fixed. Phew.
- Code injection attack (fixed)
- Twitter account password failure (fixed)
- Ourmedia account failure (no reply, moved to Internet Archive, fixed)
- Grilled cheese sandwich maker firing out waffles instead (punched, fixed)
- Couldn't find Haskell book (finally found at Borders)
- University blog database corrupted from old plugin (cleaned, fixed)
Some of my own Optus spam from when I was in Australia
According to a story released just hours ago from the Adelaide Now website, Optus has been fined AU$110,000 for sending text message spam which was sent from a misleading phone number.
From the report:
The fine is the second biggest penalty imposed for a breach of Australia's anti-spam laws.
The messages promoted the OptusZoo entertainment service to customer mobile phones and used the sender identification 966.
Optus assumed recipients would make the connection between 966 on a mobile phone keypad, and the word "ZOO" which can also be spelt out using the three numbers, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said.
"However, this was not considered sufficient identification, as '966' could be used to represent any number of permutations on a telephone keypad," ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said in a statement.
Somehow their reasoning that everyone would know what that number means does sound just a little fishy. It sounds like a classic case of intentional obfuscation, then denial to me. It seems hard to believe that someone could really think a three digit number could translate using a keypad into "Zoo" which we're supposed to associate with one of their products.
If the numbers when entered into a phone magically spelt the word "Optus" I'd perhaps be marginally more forgiving... but "Zoo"? How many Optus customers are even aware that they're using that service?
Optus is of course Australia's number 2 telecommunications company behind Telstra. Writing this from Singapore is ironic given Singapore Telecom owns Optus. Budda boom.
I don't like to get too political on this blog, but in this case I'm willing to make an exception to post a video Atuuschaw shared on Google Reader yesterday that really moved me.
In this YouTube video, American news presenter Bill Moyers from the PBS Journal Show discusses the little covered protest march to bring justice to those who have died during wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Gaza Strip. He then analyses with his calm voice what has brought us here, whether we really have achieved anything, and what the human cost has been.
As an atheist who's a nervous wreck thinking about the negative effects that incompatible ancient holy books and justifications derived from them are having on a world with modern weapons, I also appreciated his references to the Bible and his explantion of "the oldest family feud in history". Something tells me as long as people think/know books can be 110% infallable words of their gods, this conflict and many others will never be solved. It's not politically correct to say this I know, but eventually we will have to face and admit this.
Back to the video, from Salon's Glenn Greenwall:
On his PBS Journal Show last night, Bill Moyers delivered a poignant essay on Israel/Gaza (video below). The whole segment is worth watching -- it begins with coverage of a mostly ignored anti-war march this week in Washington [...] -- but Moyers' essay begins at roughly the 2:20 mark.