Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding

Today the world watched as two people got married in The Royal Wedding.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (born William Arthur Philip Louis on 21 June 1982)
Catherine Elizabeth Mountbatten-Windsor, Duchess of Cambridge (usually known as Kate)

They met each other at some university.

Kate cannot be called a princess because princesses are something that you are born in to - its not something you can gain by entering a marriage. Kate will never be a princess. sadfrog.jpg

Media Highlights. (mostly surrounding Kate because she is just gorgeous).
Kate arrives for her royal wedding to Prince William
Kate walks up the aisle on the arm of her father
Kate and William exchange wedding vows
the 'i do'
Kate and William share kiss on balcony,_Duke_of_Cambridge,_and_Kate_Middleton

This was a amazing event.
According to some sources 3 billion viewing all around the world - thats almost half the world population. Past large scale events like the recent natural disasters, 9/11, superbowl and other large events have gotten views in the hundreds of millions. The world all came together to see this event and experience it together.

Additionally about 1 million people travelled from all around the world to see this wedding event. That is incredible!

But some argue that this is nothing, its meaningless. Why in 2011 is there still a monarchy [in the first world]? Some call this a great relief from the terrible recent events while some call this a distraction from them. For example, the student protest in UK over tution fee hikes. Interestingly enough this event would have cost lots to put together and the taxpayers have to pay for this (although some argue that all the travellers comming in to watch could spend money in London so it won't be too bad.

And lest not forget most of this is just for show, many countries that have been ruled by the British (including New Zealand) have broken off and formed their own democratic governments now. Britian has nothing on them. It is interesting how much interest Americans have given this, especially since they fought hard to cut off from them - an event that is now celebrated as 'independence day'.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Science and God

And now to focus a bit on science and God. Could science actually be bringing us closer to God? Let us assume that God did create the world as we know it. I am happy with such as assumption because I believe that this world is too amazing for it to be a random act of nature. Science is about discovering more about the world and trying to understand it. It tries to answer the big question: why are we here? If God did create us (or rather create something that would evolve into us) wouldn't he want us explore this world rather than think something as crazy as 'god put those fossils there to test our faith'. Science, in pursuing truth, would be finding God.

lol I remember going shopping with a friend and running in to this busking and we donated money to him. Then goes on all about god and stuff and one interesting thing I remember him talking about was the atom. Imagine you split the nucleus of the atom and you keep doing that over and over again then you'll see some particles - three of them infact. The three particles could represent the holy triniy - father, son and holy spirit. Arranged together this is called the 'god particle' or the Higgs boson. The busker guy said that this is god's sign to stop exploring. But we ignored this sign and researchers at CERN are researching and investigating this particle using the LHC - Large Hadron Collider (which will eventually create a black hole and kill the entire human race).

But there are those who will alway reject a scientific source because it contradicted their own deeply held belief and views. This is an interesting thought. You may have heard about the flight-or-fight response. When encountering a predator or an enemy the natural instinct is to either fight this being or to run away. Both responses are for the purpose of survival. It turns out that this response also works for information that contradicts your own belief, information that threatens you. When encountered with such information that person will either block it out completely or try to say how that scientific reasoning is wrong.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

ZOMG iOS 4 records all your travels!

(to be more specific iOS that carries a cellular signal - iPhone and iPad 3G)

So some researchers discovered that iOS 4 records every location is been at. It records in this database file: /private/var/root/Library/Caches/locationd (you'll have to jailbreak it to get ssh access into it and then copy the file to your computer to open it).

So why does this file exist?
It has to do with how location services work in iOS. There is two ways to get a location. First is using the standard GPS signal from the satelites - similar to many GPS recievers. It gets a really accurate reading but the problem is that is uses too much battery power. It's not a problem if you're using it as an in-car GPS because you get cigarette lighter power but what if you want to update your location on twitter or facebook? Well then there is A-GPS which uses cell towers instead.

A-GPS uses the strength of its connections to cell towers to judge the distances away from them and then goes online to find the lat/long position of those towers using a unique identifier. It's fast, accurate enough to post on facebook and doesn't take up too much battery. Because cell towers don't move a lot it would be a waste to look up its location every time so this data is cached on the device.

So over time as you travel and move around with the device it keeps a general location of where it goes. This is a privacy issue - so much so that Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) wants an explanation. If one could obtain this file one could see where the owner's place of residence, work, study, etc. But also more sensitive locations such as strip clubs, abortion clinics, hospitals, etc etc etc.

But how does one even access this file? First it needs to be jailbroken. Right now this means taking the physical device and connecting it to a computer and running the jailbreak software on it. Then its a simple matter of copying the /private/var/root/Library/Caches/locationd file .

Now why would Apple allow this. Firstly don't attribute to malevolence to what could be a mere oversight. The file is so small compared to the storage capacity of the iPhone that the developers might not have paid much attention to it. They thought it would be better for it to just be left alone and didn't consider the privacy implications.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Earthquakes therefore antipiracy legislation?

In New Zealand you may have heard about the earthquakes in Christchurch. This has put Christchurch in a state of emergency. In Christchurch police have cordoned off the CBD denying citizens access to their businesses and whatever they have in there.

In the government of New Zealand The House is currently in urgency to pass Christchurch earthquake recovery measures. It just so happens that during this session of parliament this internet piracy bill was rushed through.

It is disgusting that this happened. This bill was protested and thus never implemented back in 2009 but now they get to rush this bill through under urgency bypassing parliamentary procedure. They're using the Christchurch Earthquake to pass completely irrelevant laws which I find to be quite offensive and completely undemocratic.

So anyway this bill will allow copyright holders to accuse internet users of copyright infringement. The ISP will have to send warning letters to its users at the behest of the rights holder. After three strikes the user will either face a $15,000 fine or 6 months disconnection. I mean we could just hop on to another ISP, but this just isn't right.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

sad crab

This picture here thats making the rounds on the internet makes me feel so sad...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Infinite capacity drive?

Sorry for not posting in a while but been busy with the last few weeks of uni. Well at least its break now. How you all doing?

I was reading about something interesting today. A cheap chinese knock off a portable hard drive with an interesting feature. It appears to have an infinitely large capacity.

So with a normal hard drive you plug it in (typically via USB), copy some data into it and then unplug it. A later time you plug it back in and you can see the data you've copied into it. This drive is different however - you can store data in it. But the drive only remembers the last 128mbs!

Think of this as a pocket with a hole in it. You keep trying to put coins in it, but it always falls out!

Trolling is a art