Pretty Sneaky Software?

Brian Martin rants at attrition.org: Anti-Virus Companies: Tenacious Spammers

The heart of the problem, according to Martin:

In the case of the latest worm, I and others have received more spam from Anti-Virus products than the worm itself! As you read this, Anti-Virus companies are responsible for products that are sending out more unwanted mail than the worm itself. The most damning mail from these products not only purport to 'warn you of infection', but they go so far as to advertise the product to you. This is unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE, aka 'spam') in its purest form.
If the Anti-Virus companies were really sneaky, they'd also sell spam-filtering solutions.

Then, their flood of spam-triggered spam would drive up demand for those products. And, because the spam-triggered spam is comparatively easy to filter, its volume pumps up the reportable "effectiveness-rate" of simpleminded spam-blocks.

Oh, wait, they are really sneaky!

Shuttle scuttle means Hubble trouble? A rebuttal!

The announcement that Hubble would have to die early, because only the Shuttle could save it, is looking more and more like it was a NASA variant of the "Washington Monument Maneuver." This is where a government agency feigns the "necessary" closure of a popular, prominent program -- like the Washington Monument -- to stir up political support. The latest news via AP is: NASA to Review Plan to Phase Out Hubble

I already posted my opinion of the early defeatism -- and its antidote via a private competition to save Hubble -- in Send Asimo to Save Hubble and Hubble Rescue Battlebots.

John Kerry: The candidate from the Gamma Quadrant

Drudge is implying, with pictures, that John Kerry has had something radical done to his face. Here's Drudge's main example pictures, showing the droopy, wrinkly Kerry of 2003 and the new improved "smoove" Kerry of 2004:

I have an alternate theory. Kerry is a shape-shifting changeling from the Gamma Quadrant, like Odo of Star Trek: Deep Space 9. Witness the subtle but significant resemblance between new smooth Kerry and alien smooth Odo:

Let the best robotic repairman win

At O'Reilly Network, I write: Hubble Rescue Battlebots

It's a Raging Meme

At Slate, William Saletan logs further observations about the consensual Reality Distortion Zone afflicting the pro-Dean movement: I See Dean People - Howard Dean's fatal echo chamber

Dean's supporters too plugged-in -- to each other?

At Many-to-Many, Clay Shirky asks, Is Social Software Bad for the Dean Campaign?.

Shirky suggests online networking tools may have led to a sense of overconfidence and self-satisfaction among the Deaniacs that impedes their effectiveness. Earlier (1/21), Mickey Kaus relayed observations that the vaunted Dean volunteers may have actually turned Iowans against Dean:

Who Let the Blogs Out? Alert emailer "Andrew" offers an explanation of Dean's Iowa loss: "The decline in Dean's numbers in Iowa coincided with the arrival of his vaunted 3500 ground troops," who alienated Iowa voters. The Deaniacs were too opinionated and wouldn't shut up-- i.e., they were slightly crazed. Dean would have done better without them. As Andrew, a Dean supporter, put it: "I wouldn't want to let a lot of these folk into my house." ... It's just a theory, but note that it would explain the loss and the scream (which was Dean getting into their 'head'). ... People who were actually in Iowa should feel free to tell me if the theory rings true--though if Joe Trippi starts asking Dean volunteers to stay away from New Hampshire and "work on the Web," that would also constitute confirmation. ... New slogan: "Unseen for Dean!" ... It's warmer inside anyway, by the glowing screen. ... P.S.: kf reader "T.C." proposed the Deaniac-backlash scenario the week before the Iowa caucuses. ("Nothing like a bunch of young, smug, condescending, messianic, coastal elites to remind Iowans of why they don't like easterners.") ... Update: TNR's Lizza writes:.
There is undoubtedly a strong antiwar streak among Iowa Democrats, but they are not, for the most part, lifestyle liberals.When hordes of kids with dyed hair and multiple piercings descended upon the state to spread Dean's message with Scientology-like evangelism, Kerry began to look real good.
Can the blog-powered pro-Dean hive mind adapt their outwardly-focused tactics in time? We'll see!

Do you concur? Do you concur? Then we concur. Carry on.

Cal professor of physics Richard A. Muller thinks Osama bin Laden is dead, and his voice on recent tapes has been faked.

Sounds plausible to me, though I might not yet bet on it.

Send Asimo to Save Hubble

At the O'Reilly Network, I write: Send Asimo to Save Hubble


Ocean vs. Sea Shell

This audio-sharing outfit should have offshored their operations.


Life Imitates Cartoon Art

It's not quite Blinky, but...

Ananova: Taiwan scientists accidentally develop two-headed fish

Previously, a 1993 Simpsons episode parodying "Siegfried and Roy" as "Gunter and Ernst" depicted a tiger attack much like the 2003 attack on Roy.

WiFi the Austin Moontowers!

Via BoingBoing, I came across this "Austin's Wireless Future" report.

It's a dry but comprehensive survey -- well, comprehensive except in one respect. There's little mention of the potential for a free community wireless backbone. Yes, they mention free hotspots, and wireless for reaching rural areas, but nothing in the mold of SFLan or Bay Area Research Wireless Network (BARWN). In these networks, strategically-placed 802.11 nodes, owned and maintained by volunteers, relay traffic through a completely over-the-air free metro network (with one uplink to the rest of the internet somewhere).

And it's a shame such a system hasn't broken into the Austin wireless consciousness yet, because Austin has something that could give a giant boost -- literally and figuratively -- to an SFLan-type project: the moon towers, relics of a 19th-century civic illumination project. The moon towers have power, prime locations, and sufficient height to give lines-of-sight to risk dying for.

Slap an SFLan-style relay-and-redistribute-node atop each tower, route them through each other, find one good uplink, and a giant swatch of Austinites would have access to a free, high-speed wireless internet. They could log on directly with their laptops, or extend the reach of the free net via ad-hoc hotspots built with off-the-shelf consumer tech.

(Regarding SFLan, from my apartment in central San Francisco, with a good ~$30 antenna, I can detect 4 of SFLan's free nodes, and achieve a solid connection to one of them.)