Larry Hosken: New

"In a parallel world, the Many-Worlds Interpretation hypothesis has already been tested and found to be false."
      –Paul "MaxwellBuchanan" Dear

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2016-11-26T15:27:57

Hoo boy, political argument at the big family Thanksgiving dinner. We just couldn't agree on what the worst thing about Trump is.

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2016-11-25T02:30:07

Book Report: Spam Nation

Brian Krebs writes about computer crime. In this book, he traces the spam economy. Want to know how America's health care system keeps Putin in power? (Yes, I read this book a while back, before we knew Russia was trying to influence the USA election. No special insights on that here.)

I've wondered: who actually buys drugs advertised in spam? Who'd trust criminals to provide medicine that you'd actually, y'know, put into your body? That question was the privilege of someone healthy and wealthy enough to afford whatever medicines doctors are telling him to ingest. But plenty of Americans want medicines that are, when produced to USA safety standards, too expensive for them. When they get email from a "Canadian" pharmacy offering better prices, of course they respond; they don't have other options. If they get sold some medicine from a bad batch, they're screwed—but maybe they were screwed anyhow.

Plenty of this crime has settled in Russia: it's a supportive environment with plentiful technical folks and bribe-able government officials. If you're a pharma-spammer in Russia, you just have to be able to bribe someone high up in the FSB and you can operate with impunity. Well, that's mostly true; but it gets complex. Spam Nation describes a period when two groups vied for control. Then, it wasn't enough to bribe an FSB bigwig—you had to make sure you were bribing a better-connected FSB bigwig than your competitor was bribing.

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2016-11-14T22:26:29

Walking around my neighborhood today, I see 100% grim faces. It reminds me of hallways in companies facing multiple layoffs.

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2016-11-09T17:40:50

San Francisco peeps who haven't already voted: Hoodline's Election Guide is a darned handy collection of slates.

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2016-10-30T19:40:19

Last week, I walked most of the way around the bay (again). This week, I wrote about it. Unlike the previous time I walked most of the way around the bay, I didn't make a point of stopping at interesting places. Thus the walk was mostly uneventful. This makes for a strange writeup. A la "Here is one sentence saying that I walked for several hours without incident" intermingled with "Here are three paragraphs of ranting about how some difficult wayfinding turned what should have been 1km of walking along Trimble Road into a detour walking into the San Jose Airport You think I'm exaggerating but it's all true."

I left in the long rant because if I'm planning another one of these walks and I think to myself "I'll ad-lib my navigation from north San Jose to Milpitas, it'll be tricky but OK," I'm hoping I'll see this and remember "Oh gee whiz it will not be OK, why would I ever think that?"

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2016-10-27T20:25:12

Book Report: Geek Sublime

Though we can all agree that Paul Graham was full of shit when he said computer hackers were like painters (in his essay Hackers and Painters), I guess I don't want to read these essays by someone who's done computer-y stuff and creative stuff and has informed things to say about about how they're alike/different. It was interesting to read that India's caste system is all entangled in the study of Sanskrit. But there weren't enough interesting bits to hold my attention; I eventually put this book down.

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2016-10-24T18:15:00

I'm just now back from a most-of-the-way-around-the-bay walk. My feet must recuperate. I may wear socks and sandals together. I appreciate your understanding during this difficult time.

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2016-10-22T02:24:12

Book Report: Wild

It was a bestseller. Everybody read this before I did. You probably already read this or decided you wouldn't. Anyhow. It's a memoir of grief on the Pacific Coat Trail. I saw the movie before I read the book; I liked the movie. The book was different, was able to capture different things. The book captures the scariness of hiking alone that I could sympathize with: the horror of losing the trail; gradually realizing you're trespassing.* The book captures other scariness I didn't share but could appreciate: the horror of being a woman hiking alone, encountering creeps. It's not all scariness; there are happy parts, too; the appreciation of food after deprivation, the kindness of strangers.

*Oh gee whiz, in the time in between when I wrote this report and when I got around to posting it, I got caught trespassing by some deputies. They let me go, perhaps telepathically determining that I hadn't set out intending to trespass… Anyhow.

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2016-10-14T18:50:43

I was abstractly tsk-ing the rumors that Yahoo had stopped forwarding email until I remembered that a couple of SF Bay Area puzzlehunt mailing lists are on Yahoo Groups.

Hmm, when I go visit puzzlehuntcalendar, it says that there's a Mastermind Hunt coming up in a couple of weeks. Searching my mail, I don't see any announcements.

I'm kind of curious to log into Yahoo Groups to see if there's a Mastermind Hunts announcement sitting there.

I also kinda don't want to log into Yahoo Groups in case this we-broke-mail-forwarding is actually some cynical attempt to drive up the number of folks logging into Yahoo. Grr.

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2016-10-12T16:29:23

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