the whole world burns

Archive for September 2007

Which photo was taken first? Cannonballs on the road, cannonballs off the road?

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Fantastic essay by Errol Morris about the mystery surrounding two photographs taken during the Crimean War.

CSS Sprite Generator

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Splice many images together and access them with a background position offset.

The World's Longest Novel

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So, whose book is the biggest? The controversy will soon be put to rest, possibly for all time, when writer Richard Grossman installs his 3 million-page novel Breeze Avenue on a remote mountain in Kaha, Hawaii. Although it is unclear how many words Breeze Avenue comprises, an educated guess puts the count at over 1 billion.

Ten Directors Who Could Make an Even Unsexier Sex Movie Than Quentin Tarantino

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  1. Mel Gibson

"It would take place in ancient Egypt, be performed completely in hieroglyphics, and consist of 117 minutes of a slave being beaten to death."

Robert Jordan has passed away

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As we always feared, without finishing The Wheel of Time.

Adam Roberts on the woeful state of Jules Verne translations

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But when I checked the 1877 translation against the original my heart sank. It was garbage. On almost every page the English translator, whoever he, or she, was (their name is not recorded), collapsed Verne's actual dialogue into a condensed summary, missed out sentences or whole paragraphs. She or he messed up the technical aspects of the book. She or he was evidently much more anti-Semitic than Verne, and tended to translate what were in the original fairly neutral phrases such as "...said Isaac Hakkabut" with idioms such as "...said the repulsive old Jew." And at one point in the novel she or he simply omitted an entire chapter (number 30) - quite a long one, too - presumably because she or he wasn't interested in, or couldn't be bothered to, turn it into English.

Brilliant Firefox extension: It's All Text!

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Edit textareas using an external editor, because it's all text! Right click on a textarea, select "It's All Text!" and edit the text in the editor of your choice.

Enough With The Rainbow Tables: What You Need To Know About Secure Password Schemes

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Short version: of course you need salt, but the real goal is to make brute-forcing infeasible. The best way to accomplish that task is to make your hash function as slow as possible, and able to be slowed even further to compensate for advances in hardware.

On the Chaser/APEC security debacle

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Officers involved in the APEC security operation revealed last night that police manning CBD roadblocks are frequently not told whether motorcades coming toward them are legitimate.

"We're amazed at the lack of communication that allowed this to happen but how are they to know whether a motorcade is legitimate when they're not supposed to stop them and nothing is broadcast over the (police) radio," an officer said.

Also: Bruce Schneier link roundup.

Freebase: "an open, shared database of the world's knowledge"

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Most of the first-generation mashups have been limited to the data freely available from governments, sites with APIs etc.; I can't wait to see what we'll get now that they can use Freebase. I can't wait to use it myself, for that matter. Best of all, those magical letters: "CC-BY".

Small things, links and miscellany, sparkling with light. Sam's tumblelog.