Friday Four

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.

-- CAV


Anonymous said...

Hi Gus,

I'd heard that devout Soviet Communists would name their children after farm or industrial equipment, but had never seen any original sources.

Here's the closest I came to an original source - but the website referenced is no longer active.

Some excerpts from commentary on the site;


:lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::l ol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol 2::lol2::lol2::lol2: CHOKE ON FOOD

I especially appreciated names like "Трактор" and "Пятилетка." "Tractor" I can understand, but "Pjatiljetka?" :lol2: :lol2: :lol2:

Does anyone on this forum have a "Soviet" name, or know anyone with one?

This reminds me of the tribe in India which names their children after famous people. Most adults of that tribe now have names like Hitler, Stalin, Roosevelt, even Frankenstein... :lol:

November 10th, 2003, 01:43 AM

Vladimir means owning the world.....interesting

November 12th, 2003, 01:01 AM

The most weird of those 1920-s Soviet names was Даздраперма, which sounded like a mixture of "сперма" and "дрозофила" (fruit-fly), but actually was an acronym for "Да здравствует Первое Мая!"
Пятилетка is a 5-year national economic plan.

November 12th, 2003, 01:28 AM

Yes, I learned about пятилетка from that book Друзья-Товарищи which talks about how great and wonderful this neighborhood became after пятилетка and how much new workers' housing was built :lol: :lol: :lol: It was written by Belorussian State Youth Publishing House, what do you expect? I thought it was funny because, well, who wants a name "Five-year economic plan"? :lol: :lol:

I don't read Cyrillic but it looks like there were children named "Tractor" and such. But really, "Five Year Economic Plan?" I wonder if any medieval parents named their children "Flagellant."

c. andrew

Gus Van Horn said...

Ah! Thanks for reminding everyone of the naming practices of yet another branch of the secularized-yet-might-as-well-be-religious left.

Snedcat said...

Yo, Gus, glad you enjoyed the link. As for peculiarly Communist names in Russian, that was a craze for a while: the example I heard of dirst was Avangard 'avant-garde,' which rather names itself as a name. According to my Russian friends, only Vladlen became very common; even the simpler Vilen seems to have died out. (And regarding the quoted bit, actually Vladimir meant 'great in his power,' though it is usually understood as meaning 'peace in the world' or the like. There are three words mir, 'world, community,' 'peace,' and an archaic word meaning 'great,' and it's the last that the word contained.)

The Wiki article on 3ussian personal names is quite good and interesting, by the way, and it's got a decent coverage of pagan versus Christian names before Communism. It's interesting, the tension between meaningful names and standardized names--after all, names like Anastasia are as meaningful in the original as, say, Heather. (Or, to raise a smile, Gowan, if you're Scots or peculiarly knowledgable.). --Anastasia is Greek for 'resurrection, for them that wonder'

Gus Van Horn said...

Sorry for the delay. Another comment buried in the queue AND, thanks to GMail's silly new socia networking features, my mailbox as well.