December 28, 2009
Russia wants to lead the way in leech farming. Notorious for all kinds of medicinal uses (previously), they're also becoming popular in cosmetics. [more inside]
Son of a Nigerian banker caught with pants on fire leads to suspicion of Nigerians with trouser related problems
This last Christmas Day Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23 year old son of a prominent Nigerian banker attempted to bring down a trans-Atlantic Northwest Airlines flight with an explosive mixture containing PETN, a popular addition to amateur explosives. Then this Sunday a young Nigerian gentleman in intestinal distress caused caused the crew of his flight to alert authorities who detained and quickly released him.
One way to look at the decade from 2000-2009 is as the digital decade. In this decade the world has gone from having about 300 million to 1.6 billion users . The number of mobile phone subscriptions has gone from about 750 million to 4.5 billion. The decade even started out being called the digital decade by none other than Bill Gates. [more inside]
Karsten Nohl and a team of fellow researchers has cracked the 64-bit encryption used in 80% of the world's GSM phones. Nohl had previously cracked the encryption in the MIFARE smartcard system, demonstrating that the encryption on that device can be cracked in approximately no time whatsoever. These, of course, aren't the first gaping holes in cellphone security to come to light; indeed, lack of security seems to be part of the design spec. Perhaps all new cellphones should be just be distributed with a deck of cards.
Saving Mexico "To weaken the cartels, some argue the U.S. should legalize marijuana, let cocaine pass through the Caribbean and take the profit motive out of the drug trade."
What would happen if aid organizations and other philanthropists embraced the dark arts of marketing spin and psychological persuasion used on Madison Avenue? We'd save millions more lives.
From a simple insight, it has grown to some 4,000 pages. ... Whatever it is (he grudgingly calls it a novel, for legal reasons), [Larry Kramer] believes it to be an entirely true work. Certainly it’s epic. From primordial Florida swamps to the homophilic colony at Jamestown to Lincoln’s male love and the “holocaust” of AIDS, he reframes the country as a gay creation, culminating with the advent of modern antiviral drugs: “the single greatest achievement that gay people have accomplished in history.” (previously)
The Annotated Weekender. Fun, whimsical doodles all over The Guardian's weekend magazine by Joe List, an illustrator/cartoonist from the uk, who also does Freak Leap and I Dream of a World Without You.
Good morning. It's Monday. I know that it sucks to have to come back to work after a holiday weekend. So I am going to share with you this alternative version of Passion Pit's "Sleepyhead" mixed with archival footage of old-timey American dancing. I hope this brightens your day a little bit.
Battlestar Rhapsody (SLYT)
"When the day's activities include the likelihood of getting your brains shot out, maybe a little slap and tickle - while not desirable - is not the end of the world."
The New York Times examines several reports of sexual harassments and assaults on women in the US Military. In the article's comments, current and former troops chime in to suggest that this is an inevitable result of including women in combat zones. [more inside]
The Daily Show's Decade in Review. [Single-link Comedy Central video presentation.]