personal infodump
So much for that ‘more frequent updates’ resolution, eh? Let’s see, what’s happened this past week… Lor and I went down to the inauguration — actually, to one of the protest marches. The plan was to meet up with Fred, but we missed him during our hunt for restroom facilities. The march itself was uneventful; we got to the police barricade, watched a crush of people build up (I’m still not sure if they were checking people through where we were or not) for about a half-hour, and then headed home. Apparently there was a fracas after we left, as the Sunday Post had a picture of a protester with a bloody scalp captioned “at 14th and K”, which was where we were.

On the way home, we stopped in Bethesda for lunch and a bookstore run. I emerged with copies of Steven Levy’s new Crypto and Zinn’s People’s History of the United States. Finished the former later that night — it was pretty good. Not much that I hadn’t read before in other places, but it’s nice to have it all together, and to get a bit more background on Diffie. Recommended if you liked Cryptonomicon, or if you’re into the whole “crypto to preserve privacy and freedom” thing. The Zinn is proving to be much slower going; it’s hard to read big chunks of, because his writing is very dense. Oh, and I keep getting pissed off at various historical events. 8^/=

Hmm, that’s basically it — other details at the Advogato diary, or appearing there shortly.

good times
The very next person that mails me a warning about viruses is going to get a copy of this in return. Maybe several copies, depending on how pissy a mood I’m in.

when copying is outlawed…
Anybody with a copy will be a criminal. John Gilmore (who turns up, not oddly at all, in Crypto) has a rant about “What’s Wrong With Content Protection”. All I can say is that if and when this comes to pass, I won’t be taking part. I’ll be the one holed up in the book-lined bunker, third from the left…

local colour
Kevin hits the nail on the head with his observation about the changing DC fashion scene:

It appears the stereotype about Republican chic is true. I’ve seen more fur and fedoras on the Metro in the past three days than I have in the preceding three years. The worst of it was on the way home yesterday, when I was stuck at the L’Enfant Plaza station with a group of loud, abrasive, middle-aged (presumably) Texans, the men in huge cowboy hats and the women wearing most of the Scandinavian GDP across their shoulders. For fifteen minutes, I had to hear these people go on and on about the same topic - “Is this a safe part of town? I’ve heard Washington is a big ghetto. Is this a safe part of town?” I wanted to scream at them, NO part of town is a safe part of town when you’re running around dressed like Yosemite Sam. Everybody knows you’re rich, not from here, probably lost, and more than likely an asshole. I have half a mind to hold you up myself just so you’ll put a sock in it. But, instead I immersed myself in PalmChess and Dopewars as usual.

It hasn’t gotten that bad out here in the Maryland suburbs (yet…), yet I have the pheer…

stem cell sources
Not too long after the House of Lords made a momentous decision to allow certain limited forms of research using human embryos as stem cell sources, a British researcher has claimed to have discovered a method to produce stem cells from fully differentiated adult cells. It the method proves to work (and the jury is definitely still out at this point), this is pretty huge. Stem cell based therapies are expected to yield cures for a wide variety of fairly nasty problems. That said, this is “science by press conference” at its worst, and I, for one, smell a rat, given the close timing of the announcements.

Second link via nodalpoint.org

for later…
Tutorials on Perl Object Environment and Perl-GTK.

big brother
1984 is going to need some updating, it seems. The British Home Secretary (at some point I’m going to have to buttonhole one of the Brits at work and find out what the deal is with the various positions in their government, and how they map onto ours) has introduced a bill that would allow police to retain fingerprint and DNA samples of everyone detained by the police — even if the detainee isn’t ever charged with a crime. Civil liberty groups are, to put it mildly, concerned about the consequences of the law, should it be enacted. Jack Straw, Home Secretary, tries to downplay fears with this comparison:

[Straw] said the introduction of closed circuit television in streets and shopping centres had been seen at the time as an attack on civil liberties but was now welcomed by the public.

Watch your step, folks, Slippery slope ahead…

no broadband for you!
And at this point, after hearing countless horror stories about DSL installs from hell, as well as subsequent bad service, I’m not too sure I’m missing out on anything. It’s gotten so bad that Verizon is getting sued. (There’s also a story at the Reg.) Gosh, I guess changing the name of the company didn’t help with the perception that they’re a bunch of clueless lusers, did it?

why it’s good to be a woman
Or at least one reason. (Note: horribly sexist (or is it sex-positive?) humor behind that link…)

Blog rolling
First, the final vote form for the Bloggies is up. I voted in the first round; I’m a bit annoyed that more of my picks didn’t make it into the finals, but whadya gonna do?

Second, a bit of feedback on Lyn’s latest journal entry: I’m exactly the opposite. I fear and hate the dentist, but going to the eye doctor doesn’t faze me at all. I think Lyn might have had a mixture of good and bad fortune: she got one of the few bad eye doctors as a child, but one of the few good dentists. My childhood eye doctor, in contrast, was wonderful — actually, every eye doctor I’ve ever seen has been wonderful; my childhood dentist, I suspect, had a sideline in strangling puppies, or something. The man was evil. I’ve never been to a dentist that bad since, but whenever I go to see a new one, I approach him or her with the picture of that first dentist in the back of my mind…urg, must stop typing now, starting to get upset…

site meta
The minor tweaks to the design are due to a bit of prodding by Paul Nagai; thanks for the feedback, Paul, and for getting me off my butt to fix the problems. New logo is my attempt to produce a picture of what a “genehack” actually looks like; please feel free to laugh.

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