November 20th, 2008

Destructive email hack against lj accounts

The hack resets your lj password and email address, deletes all your posts, and puts up a malware link to a Russian site.

This is another good reason to archive your posts. LJarchive has a good reputation, and I can verify that it's easy to set up. lets you add a security question as an additional way of getting to your account if you've forgotten your password and don't have access to your email address.

Maybe a silver-leaf grenade would be a better idea?

How to make silver bullets is about an effort to replicate the Lone Ranger, though my first thought, of course, was werewolves.

Silver isn't a very practical material for bullets....
There were problems with the waste materials, not to mention heating the Lyman mold to a white heat to keep the silver from hardening before it hit the botton of the single cavity model. And when the bullets came out, they were pretty as bits of pre-historic jewelry, but they weren't much as bullets. They looked as though they had suffered a bad case of smallpox or whatever non-organic disease pits silver.

On the other hand, there wasn't any thought given to such mass production as would certainly be done if there was a serious werewolf problem, but that's the sort of thing that fails to happen if a crucial project falls into the hands of people who are imprinted by decades old tv kids' shows.

Those guys are clearly geeks, but not geeks as we know them.

I have a vague impression that the Lone Ranger left a silver bullet as a trademark, but did he actually shoot with them?

Anyway, the essay is an example of one of my favorite sorts of humor-- the effort to made things work vs. an obstructive universe..

Link thanks to Making Light.

Possibly a little more of the blame to go around

I was contemplating the financial crisis. While I don't give primary blame to the people who bought bad mortgages, they were the last line of defense against a very destructive scam. So where were the folks who write financial advice to ordinary people?

I admit I haven't checked, but I haven't heard anyone saying "I said not to buy adjustable rate mortgages!", and everyone who says they refused to buy one frames it as though it was obvious rather than the result of advice.

The panopticon will not save you

In that link I posted yesterday about torture in American prisons, there was quite a bit of legally required video of how prisoners were treated, and that's why we know that claims of being beaten isn't something the prisoners are making up.

We also see that if there's no will to end an abuse or a positive desire to continue it, just knowing about the abuse doesn't help, though I hope that knowledge will make a difference in the long run.

Political mind-reading

From Unqualified Observer:
For a long time, I was kind of amazed by the libertarian rhetoric of the GOP, the way that somebody could argue for torture and corporate welfare and unchecked police powers and massive deficits and a global empire, and then follow it up with “Because I believe in limited government and the free market.” The cognitive dissonance wasn’t what bugged me (I’m cynical enough to take it as a given that politicians know how to lie) but rather that they would even bother appealing to the small government crowd that they feel free to screw over. I mean, aren’t we, like, a miniscule faction?

And then it hit me–it was never about us. All those dog whistles that libertarians respond to whenever Republicans blow the whistle? Those were for other people. Second amendment? It’s a cultural thing, not principle. Free markets? Intellectual cover for corporate welfare. Limited government? This is their way of saying to the subsidized farmers of the Great Plains and the employees of the Military-Industrial Complex and all the other beneficiaries of GOP-style redistribution “Don’t worry, you aren’t a welfare recipient like all those city folks that I bash. You’re better than that. You’re a hearty, self-reliant person who supports limited government.”

I already knew that all of the stances that the libertarians like were just there for other elements of the GOP coalition. But I used to think that the “limited government” rhetoric was a way of fooling us. Nope, it was never about us. The fact that too many of us were fooled was a coincidence (one that Republicans probably still laugh about over drinks). It was for everyone else in the coalition. The fact that we fell for it was just a coincidence. The fact that some of us actually provided them with pet intellectuals was just icing on the cake.

What brought a lot of this to the fore was seeing libertarians swoon over Sarah Palin as she blew dog whistles. I was never fooled by the whistles, but I did miss the purpose of the whistles: It was never about us. It was about the rest of Team Red.