TECHSPLOITATION I live in a world where there are sensationalistic news stories about female astronauts going on possibly murderous rampages. Let me tell you why this makes me a happy person.
But first let's recap. Lisa Nowak is a former astronaut who two weeks ago attacked Colleen Shipman, a woman whom she considered a romantic rival. What Nowak did was violent, stupid, and wrong as well as fairly typical for a crazed stalker. But the facts of the case were undeniably salacious headline bait. Read more »
TECHSPLOITATION If you think it's hard to find a decent public bathroom in the city, try finding a bathroom for the gender ambiguous. People who appear androgynous, whether unintentionally or because they're going for that cool genderqueer look, know that finding a bathroom is an ordeal. It sucks to walk into the women's room and have the ladies tell you to get out just because you've got short hair and like to wear ties. Same goes for short, girly boys who get the hairy eyeball in the men's room. Read more »
TECHSPLOITATION On the morning of Jan. 24, Fyodor Vaskovich awoke to discover that his Web site, SecLists.org, had been transformed into a giant error message. The message said his domain couldn't be resolved. This troubled him greatly: SecLists is an archive of several computer securityrelated mailing lists that contains more than 50,000 pages of technical information. It has thousands of visitors per day and nets Vaskovich a fair amount of income from Google ads. Where had the site gone? Read more »
TECHSPLOITATION Complain about eBay all you like and I'm sure you have but the gigantic online auction site has done a few things right. The company has proven that you can create a community where strangers exchange large sums of money and most of the time nobody gets burned. It's all because of eBay's reputation system, the software that allows sellers and buyers to give each other feedback ratings. Read more »
TECHSPLOITATION For several years I've heard Philip Pullman's young-adult fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials called an antireligious response to the mega-Christian Chronicles of Narnia. Progressive fantasy about troubles with an otherworldly version of the Christian right? I'm there. Read more »
TECHSPLOITATION Now that Congress is back in session, I'm bracing myself for the resurrection of the Stop the Online Exploitation of Our Children Act. This is yet another bill, in a long line dating back to the Communications Decency Act and the Child Online Protection Act, that attempts to curtail free expression online by raising the specter of child abuse. First proposed at the end of last session, the bill is the brainchild of Sens. Read more »
TECHSPLOITATION Human beings are always bragging how cool we are because we plan for the future. That's probably why a team of neuroscientists recently did a study on the anatomy of future thinking. Turns out that pondering an upcoming event like, say, the release of Windows Vista, activates a very specific part of the brain.
At least, that's what researchers at the University of Washington in St. Louis observed when they stuck people in an MRI machine and asked them to think about their next birthdays. Read more »
TECHSPLOITATION I'm going to spend New Year's Eve in Berlin with a large group of hackers gathered by the venerable Chaos Computer Club. Something about the idea of going to a foreign country to celebrate the new year has made me want to do the traditional thing and make a list of resolutions. Read more »
TECHSPLOITATION Two years ago tech entrepreneur Joi Ito was spending a lot of time with the managers and editors of the collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia, and he noticed that there were far more women wikipedians than women bloggers. In late 2004, Ito wrote in his blog:
Wikipedia seems much more gender balanced than the blogging community.... I wonder what causes this difference in gender distribution? Is it that the power law aspect of blogs is inherently more competitive and appeals to the way men are "trained" in society? Read more »
TECHSPLOITATION I spend an inordinate amount of time wondering why my spam looks the way it does. Until quite recently, I received about 20,000 spam e-mails every day. The poor little Bayesean filter in my Thunderbird e-mail program couldn't keep up and would routinely barf when confronted with such huge piles of crap from "Nuclear R. Accomplishment" with the subject line "$subject" and a message body full of random quotes from Beowulf.
Before I finally fixed my spam problem — oh blissfully small inbox! — I developed a few vaguely paranoid theories. Read more »