Saturday, February 26, 2011

I Didn't Know That Dept.

Who needs a job, I learn something new every day on the intertubes.
Case in point, reading about Anonymous' recently announced plan to attack the Koch brothers, I am led from the subject of DoSs (denial of service attacks, which is how Anonymous retaliated against the credit card companies that had refused to handle money for Wikileaks) to black faxes to lace cards, the earliest form of computer sabotage, not outmoded of course.
Reminds me of the girl, physics major, who rigged all the phones in the dorm to ring at 4 a.m.
Wonder where she is now. Her mistake was in not remaining anonymous.
I've been fascinated by the idea of cyberterrorism ever since I saw Richard Clarke, the former White House cyber security expert, discuss it on Frontline following 9/11.
There is now credible evidence that we did, indeed, fuck with Iran's nuclear program.
But from what I remember reading at the time, we had to have a real person or persons able to physically implant something inside something, so not totally cyber.
And we have pilots flying cyberdrones against AQ in Afghanistan.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Stagecoach Mary

Where would Contrarienne be without MetaFilter? Nowhere, that's where.

"Mary Fields was born in 1832, into slavery in Tennessee, where she was friends with the farm owner's daughter. She was taught to read and write while a slave, and stayed on Judge Dunn's farm for some while following emancipation. Her childhood friend, Dolly Dunn, went on to become a Ursiline nun. Dolly Dunn, then known as Sister Amadeus, invited Mary Fields to join her at the Ursuline convent in Toledo, Ohio. Sister Amadeus was soon assigned to become the headmistress at a convent in Montana, where she fell ill with pneumonia. Mary Fields hadn't first traveled out with Sister Amadeus, but now went to help her sick friend recover. After her friend, now Mother Amadeus, was better, Mary decided to stay on and help the nuns repair the building. Unfortunately, Mary was too hot-tempered, and thought to set a bad example for the children (or maybe the men in town were tired of her out-earning them, and maybe she shot a man in self defense), but she was sent away from the mission, with some financial backing from Mother Amadeus. Mary started a cafe, but was a poor cook with a big heart, and the restaurant ran out of money in short order. She was given a mail route that she ran for eight years, where it was her toughness and reliability that earned her the nickname Stagecoach Mary. She also earned her reputation for being tougher than most any man, out-shooting, out-drinking and out-working them all. After her stagecoach days, Mary was in her 70s, so she took it easy and opened a laundry service, though it's said she spent more time at the saloon than at the laundry shop. She also spent time in her garden, where she'd collect flowers to present to the local baseball team. For every game, she would fix buttonhole bouquet for the members of each team and five large bouquets for each of those who made home runs. She also offered her services as a babysitter for $1.50 a day, which she'd then spend on the little ones."

A New Species

Pre-adults. I'd like to see some numbers about this social phenom and I hope the book has them. But, yeah, from what I can see of pop culture and the youngers in my vicinity, it's true. And troubling. And a function of our (false) prosperity. So about to go down the toilet anyway.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I Didn't Know That Dept.

While you might think of coffee as merely a good caffeinated drink, the seeds of the Coffea plant represent the second most important legally traded commodity, following oil, in terms of dollar value, writes Mark Pendergast in Uncommon Grounds.