Friday, November 01, 2013
1. It's hard to believe we've been in St.
Louis for just over a year, but this was our second Halloween here. Mrs. Van
Horn took our daughter out to trick-or-treat while my four-month-old son and I
manned the door at home. I like the local custom of having the kids earn their candy by telling a joke:
Joke-telling on Halloween is not unique to St. Louis. Apparently, the tradition actually began in Des Moines, ... as a Depression-era attempt to curb hooliganism, which included upending trash cans, turning on fire hydrants and shooting out streetlights. [bold added, link dropped]We had our daughter, who is just over two, ask, "What is a cat's favorite color?" (The answer is "purrr-ple".)
2. Currently, my daughter's favorite game is to "go hiding", which means she gets under a blanket while I pretend to have no idea where she is. She then picks a moment, often well before I'm done wondering out loud where she might be, to pop her head out and giggle, "Here I am!"
3. Once, back in our Boston days, I was waiting with my daughter on a subway platform. A lady approached to admire the baby and eventually got around to asking about her name. After I answered, she grinned and said, "Wow! I can spell it and pronounce it!" I have a feeling she might have enjoyed this piece on bad names, which reader Snedcat pointed out to me. Snedcat notes that the piece presents a "convincing argument that the hippies might not have been ... worse than the Victorians, and possibly not as bad as the Puritans," when it comes to naming children.
4. According to Dan Goodin, the IT Security Editor of Ars Technica, reports of "badBIOS" are "the advanced persistent threat equivalent of a Bigfoot sighting". Explicitly denying that his article is a Halloween hoax, Goodin describes an airgap-jumping, OS-agnostic, self-repairing virus that sounds more like science fiction than fact:
[Security researcher Dragos] Ruiu said he arrived at the theory about badBIOS's high-frequency networking capability after observing encrypted data packets being sent to and from an infected laptop that had no obvious network connection with--but was in close proximity to--another badBIOS-infected computer. The packets were transmitted even when the laptop had its Wi-Fi and Bluetooth cards removed. Ruiu also disconnected the machine's power cord so it ran only on battery to rule out the possibility that it was receiving signals over the electrical connection. Even then, forensic tools showed the packets continued to flow over the airgapped machine. Then, when Ruiu removed the internal speaker and microphone connected to the airgapped machine, the packets suddenly stopped.I regard myself as more of a hack than a hacker with respect to computers, but the various individual observations reported in the piece all sound plausible to me.