Monday, May 30, 2011

A story about humans

Humans first walked the Earth many millions of years ago.

The first civilisations started about 10,000 years ago when we decided to form and live in towns and cities with most of us working in farms rather than running around looking for food.

It's amazing how much we've changed.

We do not have fur.

Humans do not have fur. Why? Some argue that it was because we did such a horrible job of cleaning ourselves that it became an evolutionary advantage _not_ to have fur (which lice and other parasite could hide in). This exposed the skin to the sun and depending on where you lived you would get different amounts of sunlight creating different skin colours leading to the different races. There are three 'great races', Caucasoid (white people), Mongoloid (asian people) and Negroid (black people).

Oh and not having fur meant that we had to find other ways of keeping warm - like making a fire, one of our great ancestor's most important skill. It served a social purpose by bring people together to cook and share food. [Although we do get goosebumps to keep us warm.]

Another thing that serves a social purpose is alcohol. Our bodies are designed for alcohol (our largest internal organ, the liver, is there for the purpose of metabolizing alcohol). At the beginning of civilisation we started living in towns and cities and worked on the farm tending to crops and animals. Half of the grain was used for making beer. Beer was the one big draw of city life, it was something you couldn't get as a roaming solitary nomad. Beer is a social lubricant - it makes social situations much easier to deal with.

As towns and cities developed and grew larger and larger it became quite difficult keeping track of all the people. How did we managed to solve this problem? By inventing gossip. The first uses of our more complex language (originally probably developed to coordinate hunting) was to sit around the campfire and exchange information about the ones who weren't there, behind their backs.

That use of language--that sharing of juicy secrets about who was sick, or dying, or who was mating with who--let us gather information about other members of the group who don't happen to be present. This is what the other animals could not do, and it let us create the kind of complex societies other species can barely understand.

Ever wonder why women seem to talk--and gossip--more than men? Some think it's because while the males were out hunting, it was the females who did the gossiping around the campfire.

Now there are problems that need some personal time to solve. Sometime we just gotta get away from people and from society. Well thats why we have depression. Depression makes you want to cut off contact from others until we could get our act together. Depression is a part of being a normal, healthy person.

Well I hope you guys found this story fascinating!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Better safe than Sony

In 2006 Sony released the Playstation 3 (PS3). It soon became the best way to play blu-ray discs. Part of this was because the PS3 could easily connect online to download firmware updates so that it could support newer blu-ray features as the specification evolved. The other reason was because PS3 has no gaems.

The PS3 had the ability to run Linux using the OtherOS feature which was nice because it was like a mini super computer. The US military was using many of them to form a super computing cluster and many distributed computing projects like Folding@Home used them to run simulations of protein structures to try and understand them more and possible cure certain diseases. All this came to an end when Sony removed OtherOS feature because they were scared of piracy.

A hacker, who is well known in the jailbreaking scene, known as Geohot decided to bring back the OtherOS feature. He sought to allow PS3 users to reenable a functionality that Sony sold them. Sony didn't like this at all, they didn't like the fact that people could do their own things to their hardware that they bought. So they decided to launch a lawsuit against Geohot.

Now they didn't go into court, they settled things privately out of court, but Sony did manage to get records of Geohot's paypal account, IP addresses of anyone who interacted with him on youtube, facebook and other places including his own website.

Meanwhile the online collective known as Anonymous decided to DDoS and take down Sony's website and the Playstation store. And while Sony was busy with that another hacker group managed to break into PSN and steal lots of personal information about its users. This caused the lengthy downtime which meant that people couldn't play Portal 2 when they bought it on Steam. Some sources say that the downtime was due to piracy thanks to a cracked developer console. Sony took a week to notify customers that their personal information had been stolen and that they are at risk of identity theft.

All of this happened because of Sony's lawsuit against a hacker. They angered the hive and it fought back.

Sony has previously released CDs that would install a rookit if played on a Windows PC.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sponsored by Disney

In the past few weeks the bad guy gets killed and the prince marries the princess!

Osama bin Laden, the world’s most wanted terrorist, died on May 2nd, aged 54. The figure-head of al-Qaeda is dead and the world is a safer place. He was the founder and the voice of the organization. Osama bin Laden has been responsible for preaching hatred and using terrorism to kill innocent people.

The western world reacted unversally positively to this news. People were celebrating on the streets of New York City after midnight (which was when the announcement was made). They all chanted USA! USA! USA! Some others celebrating with 10 year old cake and balloons. One person decided to shave his beard.

Those who lost loved ones in the September 11 attacks had mixed emotions.
"This is a feeling of happiness, but not jump-up-and-down happiness. The idea of closure is something that really, really - it doesn't exist, to tell you the truth."

Then there were those who didn't like this victory for the simple reason because it was Obama that did it.

The Situation Room
In the Situation Room President Obama and other officials monitored the situation. Tensions were high. "Geronimo, EKIA." One word and four letters were spoken by a Navy Seal to confirm the death of Osama to President Obama. Geronimo was the code name for either killing or capturing Osama bin Laden, while EKIA stands for "enemy killed in action".

Osama was unarmed when they got to him. Two shots killed him - in the chest and in the head. He was in his palace in Abbottabad, Pakistan. (Talk abbottabad place to hide).

Pakistan has recieved over $20 billion in US aid since the September 11 attacks and so ideally they are on the US' good side. If they were found intentionally hiding America's most wanted terrorist then that could cause a lot of trouble. Pakistan had blocked any investiagtion regarding Abbottabad and also pays US lobbyists to deny it helped bin Laden. So thats the pretty fair admission of guilt. Imagine what it would be like if Osama wasn't there in Pakistan.

Photos are not going to be released of the raid. It was a balance between the public right to know what a war looks like and others seeing Osama as a martry (with the images being paraded around) and radicallizing against the US.

If he were to be captured there is no way he'll get a fair trial - probably just a show trial. A bullet in the head is easier for the world. Not better.

It was also interesting to see people cheering at a person's death. Also one must wonder what it says about a country that celebrates killing as an instrument for resovling problems. Some teachers were telling muslim students 'sorry your uncle died'. In New Zealand, leader of the maori party Harawira, called him a freedom fighter. And then he later apologied for the statement.

So what's going to happen as a result of this death?
Very little probably. Osama may have been a key leader of al Qaeda during its infancy but now it's a very large organization where the head doesn't what the hand is doing. Apparently, bin Laden didn't know about the 9/11 attacks until after it happened. So does that mean the world will be safer? Will Americans begin to see their civil liberties restored? Repelling of the PATRIOT ACT? A closure of Guantanamo Detention Camp (something that Obama has promised). Is there now an ending to this "War On Terror?" I dont' think so. Violence begets more violence. According to the telegraph there is a bomb in Europe that will explode of Osama is killed or captured. al-Qaida also has plans for derailing an American train on the upcoming 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

For the arabs this is a good thing. It will make many people see that there is another side to the Arabs - the non terrorist side. Turns out that many Arabs are pissed of with bin Laden's actions and have seen the terrible result of them. They are now focused on ending repressive regimes as seen in the current Arab uprisings


And now this part will be about the killing of Osama bin Laden.

The operation to kill or capture Osama bin Laden was rehearsed in a replica of the Abbottabad compound where the al Qaeda founder was hiding, US officials revealed.

Some reports suggested that there were at least forty of them and they left Ghazi air base in Pakistan in three MH-60 helicopters
The Seals did not suffer any casualty.

They used a stealth helicopter that was never used before to evade Pakistan radar. It was untested.

A phone call led US to bin Laden's lair. One of his most trusted aides picked up the phone and US intelligence was able to trace it to a walled compound in northeast Pakistan.

The SEALs dropped down ropes from helicopters, killed bin Laden aides and made their way to the main building. Obama and his national security team monitored the strike, watching and listening nervously and in near silence from the Situation Room as it all unfolded.

Osama's body was buried out into the sea, just like Hitler's remains.

post raid sattelite images: (greets to a fellow blogger)

photos of celebration,29307,2068860,00.html

more reactions:

Osama bin Laden obituary: (must read!)
Another read: