Is bad spam really spam?

Every now and then this blog gets a shower of spam messages. Most of them are easy enough to identify as spam and it is easy to identify the purpose of the messages. Most or all of these messages have links to websites so basically the spammer is trying to affect googles ranking system. But every now and then a bunch of messages drop in that do not follow this logic. Last night 16 messages slipped through the spam filter.

All the messages come from the IP address (with variations on the last number set) all senders have hotmail email addresses which have no relation to the names they use and the content of the messages are friendly, complementary, contain no links and have nothing to do with the post they are commenting:

All the time good to see, this was apparent an excellent post. In theory I wish to write like this too. You want time to creat that informative and in addition lots of effort to create a brilliant article.

In addition to this all have given their web address as Its all very confusing. Is it just bad (as in inefficient) spam? Or have I missed something. Why bother spamming people without apparent reason?

Information overload

It seems that ever since we began with computers the term information overload has been with us.

However the concept is not new. In The Chronicle Review Ann Blair writes in the article Information Overload, Then and Now

Early negative responses include Ecclesiastes 12:12 (“Of making books there is no end,” probably from the fourth or third century BC) and Seneca’s “distringit librorum multitudo” (“the abundance of books is distraction,” first century AD). But we also find enthusiasm for accumulation—of papyri at the Library of Alexandria (founded in the early third century BC) or of the 20,000 “facts” that Pliny the Elder accumulated in Historia naturalis (completed in AD 77). Though we no longer care especially about ancient precedent, we hear the same doom and praise today.

In addition to this in 1755 Denis Diderot wrote in Encyclopédie

As long as the centuries continue to unfold, the number of books will grow continually, and one can predict that a time will come when it will be almost as difficult to learn anything from books as from the direct study of the whole universe. It will be almost as convenient to search for some bit of truth concealed in nature as it will be to find it hidden away in an immense multitude of bound volumes.

The issue gets more problematic by the fact that our computing powers have been increasing over the past decades. This increase in computing power tends to cloud the problem of information overload by alleviating the problem but it does nothing to resolve the fundamental problem.

Is YouTube the end of parenting?

OK disclaimer nr 1: I have no children. Disclaimer nr 2: I fully expect to be flamed by my friends who do.

The little I know about parenting is obviously going to be flawed and biased, but that fits into the rest of the postings on this blog. One of the “kodak moments” of parenting seems to be when fathers or mothers teach there children grown up stuff. Some of the  moments of greatest pride appear to be when the adult child calls home to ask banal questions such as how to balance a budget, check the oil or bake a cake.

But this is no longer the case. YouTube is flooded with simple instructional films. How to clean a toilet, How to shave your face, How to make burritos, How to tie a tie (or a bow tie), How to clean windows, and my favorite silly film How to make a bed (“to impress that special friend of yours”)…

Parents, can you see the writing on the wall? Why will your children ever call home again? So parents of the world unite, preserve your rightful place in the hierarchy and ban the threat. Parents Against YouTube (site coming soon near you).

Anne Frank "live"

Anne Frank is a tragic symbol of the effects of evil on the innocent. When walking in Amsterdam today it is impossible to understand how her fate could ever had occurred. It couldn’t, it shouldn’t… but it did. The worst thing is that it can again (and in variations it still does in many places around the world). I was reminded of Anne Frank when walking around Barcelona and came across Plaça d’Anna Frank:

The graffiti worries me that we are ready to forget the gravity of barbarity. The rest of my Barcelona photo’s are here.

This via Neatorama

The only known video images of Holocaust victim and diarist Anne Frank have been circulating YouTube. Lisa Gutierrez writes in the Kansas City Star:

The 21-second, black-and-white video, filmed on July 22, 1941 about a year before Anne and her family went into hiding, shows the front of an Amsterdam apartment building where Anne and her family lived.

Nine seconds into the film you can see a brief glimpse of Anne, age 13, leaning out of a second-floor window trying to catch a glimpse of her next-door-neighbor who just got married.

The authenticity of this film has been verified by the Anne Frank Museum.

darken our entire Sky of Freedom

No proof should be necessary that a modicum of freedom for writing and printing is one of the strongest Pillars of support for free Government, for in the absence of such, the Estates would not dispose of sufficient knowledge to make good Laws, nor Practitioners of Law have control in their vocation, nor Subjects knowledge of the requirements laid down in Law, the limits of Authority and their own duties. Learning and good manners would be suppressed, coarseness in thought, speech and customs would flourish, and a sinister gloom would within a few years darken our entire Sky of Freedom.
Anders Chydenius (1729-1803)
Memorandum on the Freedom of the Press, 1765.

Men lie more than women… or maybe women get caught out half as much?

Men lie more than women! Hardly a newsflash from the Daily Mail. But they do list the top ten lies from men and women:

Top ten lies men tell:

1. Nothing’s wrong, I’m fine
2. This will be my last pint
3. No, your bum doesn’t look big in that
4. I had no signal
5. My battery died
6. Sorry, I missed your call
7. I didn’t have that much to drink
8. I’m on my way
9. It wasn’t that expensive
10. I’m stuck in traffic

Top ten lies women tell:

1. Nothing’s wrong, I’m fine
2. Oh, this isn’t new, I’ve had it ages
3. It wasn’t that expensive
4. It was in the sale
5. I’m on my way
6. I don’t know where it is, I haven’t touched it
7. I didn’t have that much to drink
8. I’ve got a headache
9. No, I didn’t throw it away
10. Sorry, I missed your call

Less is more, or running without shoes

Running today is all about taking the basic and turning it into technology. Technical clothes that breath, technical toys to measure everything from heartbeat to location and, of course, shoes. Running shoes are a mix of fashion, function and technology. But they are based upon the idea that they are necessary in order to make us able to run. We are told we need shoes, the right shoes, in order to run. This is despite the fact that barefoot runners do quite well.

There is a new trend to provide a new set of technology for runners. A technology based on less. The New York Times (Amy Cortese Wiggling Their Toes at the Shoe Giants) has a fascinating story on the new trend on barefoot running, including the new technology, equipment and the economics of running.

Check out the cool Vibram Five Fingers

Personas – who are you online?

Personas is a component of the Metropath(ologies) exhibit, currently on display at the MIT Museum by the Sociable Media Group from the MIT Media Lab. It uses sophisticated natural language processing and the Internet to create a data portrait of one’s aggregated online identity. In short, Personas shows you how the Internet sees you.

Had to try this and ended up with:

personasThe headings are Online, Books, Sports, Management, Education, Legal, Religion. Not sure what all this says about me but this is the way in which a data mining tool thinks I am on the internet.