links for 2011-02-25

  • A very useful little page – allows you to generate random passwords (and batches of them). It defaults to 8 characters but I would recommend ten, and also enabling punctuation marks (although some lameass sites only allow letters and digits). Use this to create your passwords in future, and then keep a list of passwords in an encrypted, password protected file on your computer. That way you only have to remember on strong password – the one to open your password file. You can also email the file to your online mail service (gmail, etc) so that if you are stuck for a password when you are not at your own computer, you can access it.
  • First there was Munchausen’s disease, where someone pretends to be ill, or actually makes themselves ill, in order to receive medical attention. Then Munchausen’s by proxy, where the sufferer makes another person apparently or actually ill. Now we have Munchausen’s by internet. I’m not sure it qualifies in the same category, for two reasons. First, the people being fooled are not highly paid professionals whose time is being wasted, and second, those people are paying attention voluntarily, and are not being asked to actually cure the person. This seems to me more like fantasist attention-seeking than actual Munchausen’s – people make up the same types of stories about bad relationships and other emotional pain both online and in real life, too. People are often lonely and are afraid that they are not interesting enough to make friends, so they invent a more dramatic life for themselves.
    Munchausen’s by Internet makes for a good tag line for the article of course. 🙂
  • I’ve never quite understood the appeal of the count, but it is a definite phenomenon in Ireland. You can see the media getting totally caught up in the minutiae of the election and the count, and losing sight of the actual point of the whole thing. In fact you see that even before the election, where the journos spend hours giving a seat by seat analysis of each constituency, while nary a word is spoken about the policies of the parties.
  • Well that will be something to look forward to… as long as he pays his own security bill! Visits like this can be very beneficial in terms of trade deals that get done on the sidelines.
  • Turns into? Where have they been for the last three weeks?
  • Hilarious. Small or far away? I think the guy in the studio didn’t get the joke though.
  • A guide to the Proportional Representation – Single Transferable Vote system. Most people don’t know how quotas are calculated, but does it matter? To use our votes effectively, all we have to do is rank the candidates on our ballot paper from 1 to whatever. There were 17 on the Galway West ballot paper, but I did not mark any numbers for candidates from FF or FG, so I only voted down as far as number 10. I will be very disappointed if there is no candidate from outside those parties elected in this constituency.
  • “1801 Election staff across Munster are reporting a higher voter turnout at this time than the corresponding time in the 2007 general election. Most areas have exceeded a 35% turnout and many others have passed 40%. ”
    No surprise. The turnout this time is bound to be high.
  • I bet she’d say it was worth it.
  • Audio via Skype. It is damn near impossible to prevent people communicating with the rest of the world now, which is why dictators are doomed in the long term. The sheer shock and disbelief of the speaker is palpable.
  • The complex funding behind the Tea Party movement, which like all conservative movements has a huge chunk of corporate money to help it on its way. These faux grassroots movements are sometimes called “Astroturf movements” for obvious reasons. Personally, the Tea Party gives me the willies in a truly major way.
  • Interesting tactic. Siesta time on El Motorway?
  • The game of cat and mouse between Google and the ever-expanding SEO (Search Engine Optimisation, i.e. getting a site to appear higher on search engine results) is a bit like watching the process of evolution in fast-forward mode. Google tries a new tactic and the SEO industry adapts to the changes; Google wipes out one line of attack and the SEO industry finds another.
  • What a load of complete and utter drivel. “Creator endowed rights” have sod all (if you’ll pardon the pun) to do with the law, especially in a country where the separation of church and state is enshrined in a written constitution. They’re all over the constitution when it comes to guns, but they’re happy to ignore the bits that don’t suit them.
  • I was very surprised that he lost his case against extradition. The single biggest reason I thought he would succeed is that no charges have actually been laid against him in Sweden. The way that the police put a warrant out in order to question him, without even asking him to talk to them, is like something out of a conspiracy nutter’s mind.
  • Video.
  • Good to see that they are keeping the pressure on and maintaining the organisation that established the original protests, just in case the generals decide to try to hang on to power.
  • Bloody awesome tweet! Deeply silly and very witty. ROTFLMAO
  • Mr Sheen appears to have misplaced his marbles again. I’ve never watched the show, but it’s really sad to see him destroy himself in public like this. He needs to stop working and get clean for five years before he thinks about focusing on anything else.
  • Excellent cartoon! Mac people are totally in denial about the extent to which Apple rips them off via proprietary software and forced subscriptions.
  • “The smart thing for us to do right now is to impose a $1-a-gallon gasoline tax, to be phased in at 5 cents a month beginning in 2012, with all the money going to pay down the deficit.”
    US domestic fuel prices have been kept artificially low for decades. The only way to reduce consumption is to increase price.
    Most of the article however is about the difficulties the Arab world faces in its transition from autocracy and/or kleptocracy to democracy. It’s fascinating and frightening reading.
  • “What’s happening in Wisconsin is, instead, a power grab — an attempt to exploit the fiscal crisis to destroy the last major counterweight to the political power of corporations and the wealthy. And the power grab goes beyond union-busting. The bill in question is 144 pages long, and there are some extraordinary things hidden deep inside.”
    Paul Krugman, as usual, gets to the heart of the matter in this article that compares the methods being used by the GOP in Wisconsin to those used by Paul Bremer in Baghdad in 2003.
  • I think the author is being a bit over-optimistic. It’s probably true that Republicans in Washington DC are more concerned with the economy than with social issues at the moment, but the “economic conservative” and “social conservative” ends of the right wing are becoming more widely separately as time goes on – hence the rise of the Tea Party movement. At some point there will be a split.. but the social conservative/religious fundamentalist element in the US is so strong that if the GOP doesn’t represent their views, they will create another party that will.
  • I remember the poem that Frank McNally quotes in this article – we also had to learn it in school. And likewise, I think we had one canvasser knock at our door during the 3 week election campaign. We’ve had enough glossy paper through the door to paper a mansion, but no-one seems to want to actually stand on the doorstep and discuss the policies they (or the party they represent) is espousing in this election. My vote from was set day one, but other members of the household might have been persuaded. What does it say about our political discourse that our politicians speak to us only from the remote fastnesses of TV and radio programmes?
    Several people I spoke to today said (when I asked them) that their first preference vote would have gone to a box marked “none of the above” if the option was available. Currently a blank ballot paper is counted as spoiled, but I think there should be a mechanism to register disengagement with the political system as it currently exists here.
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~ by Lynn Duffy on February 26, 2011.

One Response to “links for 2011-02-25”

  1. Ireland votes for more of the same…

    Fianna Fail may have been routed, but the country’s likely new leader is not the man to clean up our tarnished politics. A few hours into a redundancy party just before Christmas, an old friend of mine, whose rebellious streak never extended much…

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