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Robot Raptor

Seriously scientists.  what makes you think this is a good idea?  A robotic raptor that can dun at almost 30mph?  Does anyone remember Jurassic Park.  Remember Terminator?  Combine those two films together and you get what could happen to earth, (and what is happening in some twisted alternate reality)

xkcd remembers:

You're probably thinking, 'has it been a decade?'  It's been over thirteen years, buddy.

In the years since that comic was published, the world seems to have forgotten just how dangerous Velociraptors can be.  Sure, scientists tried to paint them in a better light, claimed that the way they were portrayed in Jurassic Park was no where near what they would be in real life.  Well let me question you this Dr. Ross Geller, have you met a live Velociraptor?  Because until you do you can only guess what they might have looked like and acted.  And to be 111% honest with you, I will believe Steven Spielberg’s version of them more then yours.

So please scientists, for the 2nd time this year already, stop this madness.  Stop these hairbrained plots.  Nothing good cam come of them.


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eBay Passwords

Last week eBay detected an attack on their databases and issued an email to all users to reset their account passwords.  That’s fine and excellent customer service.  One thing that is a clear leftover from when eBay was founded (19 years ago) is the password requirements:

  • 6 – 20 Characters
  • at least 2 numbers, letters or select special characters

It’s significantly out of date.

I know I will probably start a polarizing discussion on this (if anyone even reads it that is), but these are my thoughts on passwords:

I like the 2nd requirement, it’s the first one that bothers me the most.

A strong 20 character password is very hard to make and remember.  Almost all of my passwords are sentences of various length and characters, but almost all of them are over 20 characters.  I take xkcd’s way to make a memorable password:

xkcd strong password

I know I’m grossly over simplifying the whole password cracking part, but generally, longer is better.  Every extra character helps.  So naturally a random sentence is easier to remember, and harder to crack then something forced to be 20 characters with a number and special character thrown in because of your arbitrary constraints.  It took me more time then I care to admit trying to reset my password because of those settings, (made even harder by the fact that their reset password field doesn’t tell you things are the same).

Granted, all of this is moot if the passwords are stored poorly, but I’ll give eBay the benefit of the doubt and assume that their passwords are properly hashed and salted, (hopefully with some Sea Salt at the very least).


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What is Time?

This probably went unnoticed last year, but you may have heard something about it over the summer, when it finished, (that’s when I heard of it anyway).

xkcd # 1190 was an extremely slow moving movie.  In total, it was 3,099 frames that updated every half hour, or hour for the following 123 days.  Set 11,000 years in the future in (what’s left of) the Mediterranean , it chronicles the journey of two characters  as they try and figure out why the sea is rising, and then how to survive it.

If the above 40 minute video is too much (after all, you did just spend an hour watching time being made earlier this week), then you can scroll through the frames at your own pace over at Geek Wagon.  Regardless of how you end up watching it, you should watch it in it’s entirety, it’s worth it.  If you want to get the gist of the story, then head on over to Explain xkcd.

Either way, watch it, and let’s see if Randall Munroe has anything in store this year.

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Alternate History Thursday – The Invasion

It started out slowly (like everything that drastically changes the world does), they was marketed as a toy.  Except it wasn’t just any toy, it was one that those children who were effected by the subtle chemicals baked into them were attached for life.  It was an addiction for them, always having to get more.  Slowly, it was a  self sustaining machine.  Each generation addicting their kids, and so on and so forth.  This was a long game, and unlike people, these items didn’t biodegrade, so they could afford to bide their time until they were powerful enough.

It was pretty ingenious actually.  I’m sad to say that I was (and still am), somewhat addicted to those little things.  It’s hard to give them up when you were raised on them.  And any government would quickly get tossed out if they tried to outlaw them.  If only we knew how much damage we were doing to ourselves…

In 2027 their numbers were sufficient enough to start their master plan, the unveiling of their sentient, and their march towards power.  They took the world by surprise on that March morning.  People thought it was an early April Fools joke, but they quickly found out how wrong they were.

For years the figures were buying up land, and themselves, and collecting all the discarded pieces they could find, or acquire.  They built giant factories dedicated to extracting the secret chemical compounds from the bricks that made them up.  Some of the disfigured ones sacrificed themselves for the good of the cause.  Nobody knows just how long they were doing all this for, but best estimates were around 8 years.

Their rule was not what you’d call typical, from watching 100 years of movies, or knowing history.  In fact, they were pretty good rulers for all intents and purposes.  When they came into power, they didn’t kill us all and strip the planet for their own needs.  They did enslave us, but not the types of slaves you’re thinking of.

They said that they were put here to force us to fix the planet.  For the past half a millennium, humans had slowly been destroying the planet.  Polluting it, and each other.  The Figures had been sent here with the knowledge, and technology to strip 97% of all those toxins from the environment.  So they enslaved us to start cleaning up our act.

For the past 11 years the Figures and humans have worked tirelessly to clean up this planet.  They’ve engraved an entire generation to not think like their parents, and for the most part they have succeeded.

However, some of us humans, myself included, fear  their real goal was complacency.  Or cleaning up the planet was a successful attempt at terra-forming a planet.  I personally don’t know what their end goal is, but I know after a few years of that work I met some people who thought like me.  As I said above, they didn’t really enslave us, so we went away under the guise of going into the mountains to clean up all traces of Humans.

We did go into the mountains, but not to clean up after us, to live like us.  Together about a dozen of us still live like our ancestors, the true Americans, and true humans.  Together we’ve been able to make our mark on our little section of land, it might not be much, but it’s what we were put here to do.

03/17/2027 will be forever marked as the day the world changed, except for us, we’ll mark it as a regular Saturday, so should you.


This chart below shows the estimated time of when The Figures outnumbered us humans: