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25th February 2014
Mt. Gox is offline.
Remember : Mt. Gox
Wait, what do you mean "remember"?
Seems they've gone offline.
From a CNET story
Embattled Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox has largely vanished from the Internet amid accusations that the exchange is insolvent after a years-long theft that resulted in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Web site for the Tokyo-based exchange has been wiped clean, as has its official Twitter feed. A screen shot posted by a Reddit user indicates that trading on the exchange has been halted.
The exchange's apparent shutdown was linked to an alleged hacking that went unnoticed for years, according to a purported internal Mt. Gox document circulating on the Internet. Labeled "Crisis strategy draft," the document reports that the exchange suffered a loss of 744,000 Bitcoins, about $350 million at Monday's trading, and outlines a scheme for restoring confidence in the exchange.
21st February 2014
What Mark Twain actually said about the weather in New England.
From : http://www.twainquotes.com/18761223.html
Old Probabilities has a mighty reputation for accurate prophecy, and thoroughly well deserves it. You take up the papers and observe how crisply and confidently he checks off what today's weather is going to be on the Pacific, down South, in the Middle States, in the Wisconsin region; see him sail along in the joy and pride of his power till he gets to New England, and then - see his tail drop. He doesn't know what the weather is going to be like in New England. He can't any more tell than he can tell how many Presidents of the United States there's going to be next year. [Applause.] http://www.islandnet.com/~see/weather/arts/twain1.htm says: "Old Probabilities" refers to Prof. Cleveland Abbe, who was a highly respected civilian meteorologist who worked for the U.S. Army Signal Service and later the Weather Bureau as a forecaster.
Well, he mulls over it, and by and by he gets out something about like this: Probable nor'-east to sou'-west winds, varying to the southard and westard and eastard and points between; high and low barometer, swapping around from place to place; probable areas of rain, snow, hail, and drought, succeeded or preceded by earthquakes, with thunder and lightning. [Loud laughter and applause.]
Then he jots down this postscript from his wandering mind, to cover accidents: "But it is possible that the program may be wholly changed in the meantime." [Loud laughter.]
(reported in The New York Times, December 23, 1876.)
13th February 2014
Twice in one winter is really not fair, not for Atlanta. :
From Dr. Jeff Masters' blog on Weather Underground
Atlanta, Georgia, which was shut down by the 2.6" of snow Winter Storm Leon brought to the city on January 28, has been shut down again on Wednesday by Winter Storm Pax. Downtown Atlanta had already received 1/2" of sleet and 1/4" of freezing rain as of 7:30 am EST, making travel dangerous or impossible. Up to 1/2" of ice and 3 - 5" of snow are predicted for the city; Atlanta has only had seven snowstorms in its history greater than 4". The 7 am EST weather balloon launched from Atlanta iced up too much and was lost at about 630mb (12,500'). They decided not to launch another one, since it would probably suffer the same fate.
There are predictable flight cancellations
at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson and at Charlotte Douglas.
5th February 2014
There is something at once both comical and alarming watching U-Haul staff attempt to rearrange two-wheel drive box trucks around a snow-covered parking lot. :
They spin their wheels quite a bit and fishtail some, but they somehow manage not to hit the already parked vehicles. Kinda wacky.
(No video, sorry.)
3rd February 2014
Something good came of my dithering.
SriLankan Airlines cut the airfare. By 40 AED, or about $11, but no complaints from me. :
That made it even easier to decide than before, so now my flights look like this:Friday, 7 February 2014
(Logan International) 6:30PM
Terminal ASaturday, 8 February 2014
(Amsterdam Schiphol) 7:40AMSaturday, 8 February 2014
(Amsterdam Schiphol) 8:40PMSunday, 9 February 2014
(Dubai International) 6:05AM
Terminal 1Tuesday, 11 February 2014
(SriLankan Airlines) 226
(Dubai International) 10:55PM
Terminal 1Wednesday, 12 February 2014
(Bandaranaike International) 4:50AM
Terminal 1Thursday, 17 April 2014
(Air France) 3831
(Dubai International) 12:40AM
(Charles de Gaulle) 6:00AM
(Air France) 338
(Charles de Gaulle) 4:45PM
(Logan International) 6:25PM
1st February 2014
Tag changes apparently do not propagate from dreamwidth to LiveJournal, even if you have automatic crossposting enabled. :
That is, if you tag a post when you initially create it, the crosspost will be tagged, but if you add a tag to the original post later, it will not appear on the crosspost.
This is at least my experience so far retagging my dw and LJ posts.
31st January 2014
马年大吉! (Mǎ nián dàjí!) Best wishes for the Year of the Horse*!
This Lunar New Year's Google doodle is an animated gif. :
The rollover is the same on the Hong Kong site as it is on the Taiwan one: "新年快樂!" ("Xīnnián kuàilè!"), a pretty straightforward "Happy New Year!"*Google translate totally fails on this one.
29th January 2014
Arianna Simpson reports What it’s Like to Be a Woman at a Bitcoin Meetup
Arianna Simpson posted : This is What it’s Like to Be a Woman at a Bitcoin Meetup
The other night my good friend & fellow cryptoenthusiast Ryan Shea suggested we head to a new Bitcoin meetup neither of us had been to before. I agreed to meet him there, and though the conversation was stimulating, much of the experience was pretty demeaning.
Perhaps this would be a good time to recall Warren Buffet’s comment that one of the reasons for his great success was that he was only competing with half of the population. We can view it as an opportunity. Being underestimated can be a surprisingly effective tool in the appropriate context, but perhaps that’s just me being overly optimistic. I know many women, many of whom are far smarter than I am, who would have felt seriously out of place there. Would they go back to the next meet up? I doubt it. If the organizer of the meetup makes people feel so unwelcome, it sets the tone for the rest of the conversation.
I’m not bringing these comments up because my feelings were hurt, and the last thing I need is sympathy. I’m also not concerned that one particular guy thinks women couldn’t possibly know about Bitcoin, or that another grabbed at me, but unfortunately this is representative of a larger trend. The current generation of hackathon organizers (largely led by the singular efforts of Dave Fontenot —hellllllyeah) is making a concerted effort to encourage the participation of women at their events, and while I’ve still gotten my share of off-color comments, the situation is gradually improving.
I think my experience at the meetup is worth sharing because Bitcoin lies at the heart of both finance and tech, two industries that carry tremendous weight and which have traditionally struggled to attract women. Given the events of the other night, this is hardly surprising. I am undeterred and if anything will be even more proactive about attending these events. In my mind, it’s a little preposterous that if I want to do so, however, I have to be ok with being felt up and indirectly insulted.
I'm really glad she shared her experience!Hat tip: FT Alphaville.
26th January 2014
Is "thred" a generally accepted alternative spelling for "thread" nowadays? Some wacky sneaker bling website is consistently using "thred" where I think they mean "thread". :
But maybe I'm just very behind the times or something.
(I wasn't interested in the product, so I wasn't going to buy from them even if they could spell. I'm not giving them any link love here, either.)
In general, misspellings in online advertising are a useful way to identify vendors which may not be detail-oriented, or are from countries where I might not have any recourse if things go wrong.
25th January 2014
Maybe this is me being charitable today.
I stopped myself before posting something that probably would have ended up being unhelpful, if accurate. There are other situations where the exact thing I was going to say might have been helpful, but context matters.
#deportbieber is trending, apparently.
A CNN op-ed from : Ruben Navarrette
points out the special treatment Justin Bieber is getting in comparison to most immigrants who violate the law in the United States:
You know it's going to be a strange week when the hashtag #DeportBieber. is trending on Twitter.
Bieber is in the United States on an O-1 work visa that was designed to retain foreigners with "extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics."
What Bieber has is an extraordinary knack for getting into trouble.
Bieber isn't known for doing smart things, but the one smart thing that Team Bieber did is what the rich and spoiled often do when they land in jail in South Florida. Bieber's manager hired Roy Black, the Miami-based celebrity defense lawyer who is as skilled in front of a television camera as in front of a jury.
Black said this week that he hoped the case against Bieber would proceed "as any other case would."
C'mon, Roy. Really? If this case had proceeded like any other -- or at least, like many others -- your client might be in Calgary by now. The immigration enforcement apparatus does not look favorably upon non-U.S. citizen foreigners who commit crimes and get arrested.
Obviously, the American justice system works differently if you're rich. Duh.ETA
: Apparently, while #deportbieber was trending in the States, #keepbieber was trending in Canada. One tweet
said: "The fact that the US is trending #deportbieber & Canada is trending #keepbieber reminds me of 3 year olds arguing over a toy no one likes."
23rd January 2014
Following up on the saris.
Here's one of the sari (saree) ads I mentioned a couple of posts back: :
The site has many photos of pretty saris. It's really a riot of color.
This was an excellent evening for a hot tub soak.
We've just emerged from the community tub at : Inman Oasis
. Days like today are why I got a Frequent Soaker Package (ten half-hour soaks). I bought it years ago and have gradually been working my way through them.
I'm inspired by this to do a bit more planning for the "Spa Town Tour of the World" I've been thinking of ever since going to Baden-Baden some years ago. There really are a lot of potential stops
Also, ever since sukitawdry suggested it ages ago, I've wanted to visit a jjimjilbang
. There's been one in North Jersey
for some years now which got a review in NJ Monthly
a couple of years ago, a blogpost with lots of photos last spring
and more recently a writeup in the Star-Ledger
. Completely unsurprisingly, they run shuttles from Flushing and Manhattan.
Anyway, more hot tubbing. :)
Downworthy, a browser plug-in.
Worth a post. Don't know how good it is yet. : http://downworthy.snipe.net/
From the Chrome Store description
Replaces hyberbolic headlines from bombastic viral websites with a slightly more realistic version.
Downworthy replaces hyberbolic headlines from bombastic viral websites with a slightly more realistic version. "Literally" becomes "figuratively", "Will Blow Your Mind" becomes "Might Perhaps Mildly Entertain You For a Moment", and so on.
I've installed it. If I run into problems with it I'll report back.
In the future we may be able to have all sorts of agents filtering our incoming news.ETA
: Crap, it filtered its own description! Hang on, let me fix that. :)
14th January 2014
From a blog comment about Chinese fraudsters, a note about the whole certification regime.
From : a comment in a blogpost about Chinese fraudsters
, a somewhat related note about the ISO certification regime:
ISO900x - which sounded grand, but all it did was to say you had a repeatable process (so if your process was to dump every client complaint into a waste basket, and you could prove that no-one ever did anything else, you'd be ISO9000 for customer complaints procedures).
Facebook now appears to think I'm from the subcontinent, or of South Asian ancestry.
This is progress of a sort. Some months ago I think they thought I was Jewish, as I was getting the same egg donor ad from the same people but with the title "Jewish Egg Donors Needed". They also used a different photo.
I suppose it's the sari ads I clicked on a while back.
12th January 2014
A quirk of the global economy.
Imagine our surprise when we found : prayer beads
labeled "Made in China", identical to some I brought back from a trip, right in town at Ocean State Job Lots!
And for a third less than they were in Beijing.
Nowadays, I feel like something's missing if a webcomic doesn't have some commentary in its alt-tag. :
For some reason I don't feel this way about photographs.
8th January 2014
That story about Kim Jong-un feeding his uncle to the dogs? Just as true as the one The Onion ran.
Recently there's been a story going around the world press that Kim Jong-un had his uncle executed by feeding him to 120 hungry dogs. It's gotten quite a lot of attention. :
Turns out it's from a Chinese satirist's Weibo feed. Trevor Powell
has the story:
On 11 December 2013 at 02:38:07 UTC, the China-based online satirist personality known as Pyongyang Choi Seongho (or someone posing as him/her) posted a tweet to his/her Tencent Weibo account describing in detail how Kim Jongun had his uncle Jang Songtaek devoured by ravenous dogs. The original tweet can be seen here:
The following day on December 12, the Wen Wei Po news source in Hong Kong published an article quoting the tweet nearly word-for-word:
A screenshot of the original tweet was included with the article on Wen Wei Po. The article also cites Pyongyang Choi Seongho by name as the original source. In addition to describing how Jang Songtaek and five accomplices were stripped naked, thrown in a cage, and fed to 120 wild dogs, the article also describes how Kim Jongun removed his uncle from power for supporting his exiled oldest brother Kim Jongnam in a potential power grab. It also says that no one else had the guts to arrest his uncle so they had to have Kim's second oldest brother Kim Jongchul come out of the woodwork to personally arrest him before fading back into obscurity because he'd be perceived as a threat himself if he actually tried to hold a senior government post.
The Wen Wei Po article must have sounded plausible enough for the Straits Times in Singapore to publish the first piece in English on it on December 24:
From there, the story snowballed across the mainstream English news media and it still seems to have momentum. Major English news outlets from the U.S. to the UK to India to Russia have been publishing the report:
( discussion behind the cutCollapse )
It's all very much like that story in The Onion naming Kim Jong-un Sexiest Man Alive for 2012, that got picked up as serious news by China's official People's Daily newspaper.
There are two common themes here: 1) satire doesn't get caught by news editors when it's moving between Chinese and English, and 2) North Korea is the perfect setting for satire someone will take to be true.
Anatol Lieven on Afghanistan, in the NYRB.
From the : second
posts on the future of Afghanistan by Anatol Lieven in the NYRB:
In fact, seen from the air at night, Helmand’s huge Western military installations—Camp Leatherneck, the US Marine base, and the adjacent Camp Bastion, the main British base—look like a giant spaceship, a great blob of blazing lights amid a dark sea of desert. At the height of the Western occupation, the camps used more electricity than the rest of the province put together. Every drop of fuel for the generators had to be shipped in through Pakistan, along with every drop of mineral water and every bite of food consumed by the troops.For a couple of you who have an interest in Helmand Province.
And if you want to move from science fiction to Alice in Wonderland, ask yourself this: how has it been possible to bring all that stuff in by road through areas of Pakistan controlled largely by the Pakistani Taliban, allied to the Afghan Taliban—areas from which Pakistani Taliban have launched innumerable attacks on Pakistani forces? Why have there been so few attacks, and those few (to judge by circumstantial evidence) only when the Pakistani military wants to send a message to Washington? The answer appears to be that the Taliban tax these NATO convoys as they tax all other trade in the region: Obtaining tax revenues from mineral water, fruit juice, hamburgers, and other NATO necessities that do them no harm at all is, it turns out, far more advantageous than interrupting our supply routes. In other words, all these years NATO has actually been subsidizing the Taliban’s war effort.