My favourite liar

February 27, 2008 at 1:15 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Kai Chang writes:

“One of my favorite professors in college was a self-confessed liar.

What made Dr. K memorable was a gimmick he employed that began with his introduction at the beginning of his first class:

“Now I know some of you have already heard of me, but for the benefit of those who are unfamiliar, let me explain how I teach. Between today until the class right before finals, it is my intention to work into each of my lectures … one lie. Your job, as students, among other things, is to try and catch me in the Lie of the Day.” And thus began our ten-week course.”

where Chang goes on to explain the maybe-not-so-unique, but powerful teaching method employed by Dr K, and goes on to emphasize the importance of healthy skepticism and fact-cross-checking. This is a real must read > My Favorite Liar.


“Figures Don’t Lie but Liars Do Figure” – Unknown


Mr. Murphy strikes back!

February 26, 2008 at 2:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Murphy’s Law Strikes Again! YouTube was down for about forty-five minutes last Sunday. It all began with Pakistan banning YouTube, because it had, well, anti-islam videos. To do so, Pakistan Telecom routed the address block that YouTube’s servers are into a “black hole” as a simple measure to block access to the service. However, this routing information escaped from Pakistan Telecom to its ISP PCCW in Hong Kong, which propagated the route to the rest of the world [Remember AS7007?]. So any packets for YouTube would end up in this “black hole” instead of actually reaching YouTube’s servers..

The more involved explanation of this involves the the Border Gateway Protocol and Classless Inter-Domain Routing which I have no claim over. For the more curious, here’s more detail into what actually happened on ArsTechnica.

Oh and this is what happened in ’97
Known as the AS7007 incident [the day the internet died]. You can get the nitty gritty details here.

Surreal coincidence or it’s just Mr. Murphy’s hand in the general order of things.


“If there’s more than one possible outcome of a job or task, and one of those outcomes will result in disaster or an undesirable consequence, then somebody will do it that way.” – Edward A. Murphy, Jr

Oil!, Cormac McCarthy and the Oscars

February 23, 2008 at 4:45 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There will be blood” is a screen adaptation of the novel “Oil!” by Upton Sinclair and Coen brothers’ “No country for old men” is a screen adaption of a novel that goes with the same name by Cormac McCarthy. Given that, both these movies have been nominated for the highest price, and that ‘There will be blood’ won Daniel-Day Lewis the best actor in the SAG as well as BAFTA and Coen brothers picked up the best film at both these places seem to make us wonder about screen adaptations and novels themselves. Thus, there would not have been a better time to come across this >

“The usual rule among movie people is that better films are made from mediocre books than from great ones: so Francis Ford Coppola came up with a better version of The Godfather than Mario Puzo. The theory, though, is challenged by this year’s Oscar nominations for best picture. The Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men, an exceptional film, derives from a novel by Cormac McCarthy that is at least very good. And Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood, a masterpiece, is adapted from Upton Sinclair’s 1927 novel Oil!, which, though not one of the greatest works of American literature or even one of Sinclair’s best books, is exceptionally impressive.”

I loved this review by Mark Lawson in The Gaurdian. Hope you do too.

And here, one can read the New Yorker’s take on Cormac McCarthy and his “No country for old men“.


“I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables—slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war . . . our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”  – Fight Club, 1999

Among other things…

February 22, 2008 at 5:44 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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A collection of random stuff

> The drake equation [xkcd][wikipedia][related: aliens xkcd blag]
> Fermi and Frost by Pohl (Hugo short story 1985)
> We hobbits are a merry folk by David Brin
> Fellowship of the ring commentary (Part I and Part II) by Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn
> Cats can has grammar [lingua franca lolcats]
> Martin Luther King quote that flashes before is loaded can be found here.
> The semi-colon was finally given it’s due.
> Cold boot attacks disk encryption! These guys here found an unlikely property of DRAMs. DRAM actually fades out gradually over a period of seconds to minutes (rather than immediately), enabling an attacker to read the full contents of memory by cutting power and then rebooting into a malicious operating system. (more)


“The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.” – Albert. E

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