A famous and increasingly angry analysis of security flaws in Linux virtual private networking software. The ending is magisterially obscene and must be read. Yes, in case you were curious, I am a nerd.
Some more stuff about Japan and its culture. Speaking of which, today I went to the mall and I went into Waldenbooks to buy some cheesy sci-fi short story anthology and when I went on up to the counter I saw that one of the featured sale items, right there next to the register and the closest item to randomly grasping customers' hands, was this Trigun soundtrack album. Sooo... I guess the otakunization thing worked out after all.
Via the always bile-licious Peeve Farm, here's a diagram of the various possible designs for the Freedom Tower (a.k.a., the new World Trade Center.) The one we're getting is second from the left. Me, I like it, I like the idea of responding to the destruction of our cool tall buildings by building an even TALLER and COOLER (not to mention POINTIER) building on the same site, and anybody who doesn't has their priorities seriously messed up. Honestly, I'm not kidding. I say it out of love and shared humanity: Sit down and think for a while about what you're saying. Please.
(My only sad gripe is that although the thing is a patriotic 1776 feet tall, which adds up to a satisfying 170 stories or so, you apparently can't physically go up past the 70th floor; it's all a truss after that. I once had the privilege of visiting the observation deck on the very very roof of Tower Two, 110 stories up in the air, and it's not an experience that should be limited to those who were lucky enough to get there before September 11, 2001.)
Space.com is listing its top ten astronomical images of the year. Among them are this conjunction of Jupiter and Earth, as seen from Mars, the echo of light from an expanding star bouncing off a nebula, and the transit of Mercury in front of the Sun. All I can say is: damn. I think you will agree.
If you were wondering what the red indicator on the Homeland Security chart means... um... yeah. Reassuring!
Robots! I was going to make some comments wondering if Japanese progress in robotics isn't a consequence of that nation's refusal to accept and assimilate immigrants to replace its rapidly aging population, thus causing a great push for an alternative source of labor, but that kind of spoils the mood a bit.
Breaking news! Koreans walk on their hands and wear sheetmetal underwear! It's true, I saw it on the Internet!
Scott Miller of 3D Realms has a new blog, Game Matters, focusing on the business angle of games. Mock Duke Nukem Forever if you like, but considering that 3D Realms is one of the few independent development houses to have made hats of money over the past several years Miller's probably worth listening to. In the spirit of the holiday, his essay "Santa Claws" and its comments are cogent and, as I can testify from horrible real life experience, absolutely spot on the money.
And speaking of the holiday spirit and video games and whatnot, another wonderful Advent Calendar appears over at Retrospec. Merry Christmas, everyone.
Via Segacs's World I Know, this is just sad. A group of people are being threatened with genocide all over the world, and what is the response? Let's ask them if they'll be test subjects for a science experiment about stress! Gah. I think certain nations need to re-examine their priorities.
U.S. warships fail to disturb the peace in Vietnam.
A gorgeous image of Mauna Kea's shadow, cast onto the Earth's atmosphere itself.
Some handsome Dynasty Warriors 4 fanart courtesy of Studio Dink.
Oh my... a big stupid disaster movie coming in 2004 from Roland Emmerich. I am so there.
"Anyway, I would love to see a new series called "1989 House" where viewers can watch a family try to live with the primitive technology of that long-past year. We can all be amazed by their simple lives and primitive society and mores while also realizing perhaps in our modern world we have lost some of the simplicity and basic humanity of that distant epoch."
How can we be defeated when we lead the world in unicycle technology?
A rather amazing drive to oust would-be tyrant Hugo Chavez is going on in Venezuela. Chavez is a scoundrel who started out talking about justice for the poor but since his election has sent his country's oil for free to Fidel Castro, shut down the police to leave his opponents at the mercy of criminal gangs, and invited Islamic terrorists into lawless areas of northern South America. I hope his opponents win, but to be honest I think it'll just end with soldiers firing into crowds. Even after all that we've seen in the last two years, we always underestimate how ruthless and cruel some men can be.
"Perhaps if this particular strain of hormone-induced science fiction had existed in the 40's, we could have avoided the horribly bloody World War II and the national dishonour of Pearl Harbor, the movie."