Archive for August, 2006

Homemade Pepper Spray

The active ingredient in law-enforcement and self-defense pepper spray is an organic compound called oleoresin capsicum. (Some contain other ingedients such as CS “tear gas”, but I digress) For all the mystique around this stuff, it’s basically the oil – that would be the “oleoresin” part – of a type of hot chile pepper – capsicums. Add in a carrier, a binder, perhaps a dye or two, and some propellant, and you’ve got pepper spray.

Of course, if you’re an inmate in an Indonesian prison, you might not have access to a chemical laboratory. Never fear, because a poor-man’s pepper spray is simple enough to make, and effective enough to break out of prison with.

I admit, it’s not quite as geeky as the salsa trick shown on Mythbusters a while back, but I still have to feel that MacGuyver would approve. 🙂

Published in: Geekiness, General | on August 22nd, 2006 | Comments Off on Homemade Pepper Spray

Whatever Happened to EHAP?

John at Cryptome links to an old (1998) post from the Cypherpunks mailing list that in passing mentions an old group of “white-hat” hackers – EHAP, the Ethical Hackers Against Pedophiles. For what would seem to have been a very interesting, if not much publicised group, not much remains of them on the internet today; not even Wikipedia has mention of them.

So, I’m kind of curious – whatever happened to EHAP? Anyone know?

Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on August 21st, 2006 | 1 Comment »

Razor Acquisition Disorder

I’ve been shaving daily with a 1912-patent Star single edge razor for about three weeks straight, after switching back and forth between that razor and a somewhat similar Gem Micromatic. Until today, the only double-edge razor I owned was a three-piece 1930’s Gillette Tech – specifically, one of the short-handled travel versions. It’s an okay razor, I suppose, but I don’t like the short handle, and don’t use it much.

I got a lot of two razors in the mail today, won off eBay; I’d believed that one was a Super Speed and the other a (full-sized) Tech, but I was wrong; both are Super Speeds! One is a basic brass-handled model from late 1956 – more or less exactly fifty years old – and the other is an aluminum-handled 1951 model.

Both cleaned up nicely, but I haven’t used either yet. I broke down yesterday and went to Target, returning with a tube of Prorasso shaving cream – true cream, not that foam in a can stuff. 🙂 I lathered a very little bit onto my face this morning and shaved with the Star. It was good. It was very, very good.

Objectively, all shaving cream has to do is lubricate your face, right? Well, this stuff does that quite well, every bit as well as the glycerine soap I’d been using the last couple days. I can’t honestly say it did any better a job, but it certainly wasn’t worse.

Subjective performance is where this stuff really shines. Sure, it’s the first real shaving soap I’ve used. That said, the mild, pleasant scent of the Proraso added a pleasant touch to the manly ritual of depilation, and the menthol (I assume) did a wicked, wicked job of cooling my skin.

So, yeah, I’m totally hooked on this retro-geek wetshaving thing now.

After my most excellent shave, I walked to a nearby convenience store and celebrated my luddite ways with a Nesbitt’s of California orange soda, in the glass bottle. It just seemed appropriate, somehow. 🙂

Published in: Geekiness, General, Wetshaving | on August 19th, 2006 | Comments Off on Razor Acquisition Disorder

Haves and Have-Nots

Do you ever read the credits at the end of television shows? It’s a pain, because they fly by so quickly, and usually get scrunched up as the network pops up a preview of whatever is on next, in some sort of desperate attempt to hold on to the miniscule attention spans of modern-day viewers, but every once in a while you see something interesting.

Take Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert, for instance – hosts of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, respectively. The Daily Show has been on for ten years; the Colbert Report is a relative newcomer, at something like two years on the air. Colbert is best known for lampooning President Bush at a dinner earlier this year, which attracted a great deal of media attention, while Stewart is just, well, John Stewart. 🙂

But read the credits at the end of their shows, and you’ll see something interesting: Colbert’s wardrobe is furnished by Brooks Brothers, who clothe a lot of television personalities. Stewart, on the other hand, has his attire provided by Ralph Lauren (Ralph Lauren Black Label, specifically) and his footwear by – wait for it – Ferragamo.

It’s just something to think about. 🙂

Published in: Geekiness, General | on August 18th, 2006 | Comments Off on Haves and Have-Nots

Counter-MANPADS Program Summary

As noted here (PDF!), and here, the Department of Homeland Security has recently been trying to suppress an unclassified “For Official Use Only” report on countermissile systems that was presented to Congress in July of this year. The Federation of American Scientists had had it online, but they’ve caved to DHS pressure and yanked it.

Cryptome is hosting an unrelated file (PDF!), and I’m not aware of anyone who has the original. However, you should still be able to read the text in the Google cache, and when that goes away, the folks at the TCUEC have agreed to host a mirror of the cache here.

Updated 16 August 1830GMT: The Google cache appears to be gone, now. Cryptome still has working links to Yahoo and MSN caches, but I expect those to disappear pretty quickly, as well. Nobody, anywhere, seems to have come forth with a copy of the original manpads.pdf file yet…

It’s not a classified document. “For Official Use Only” is not a classification marking, and FOUO documents – along with “Law Enforcement Sensitive” and other similarly-marked reports – are officially considered “Sensitive But Unclassified” – or simply SBU.

DHS is only managing two things in their attempt to suppress this report and make it disappear down the memory hole: displaying an ignorance of the realities of the Internet, and attracting a lot more attention to a report they apparently don’t want noticed. Good job, guys!

Published in: Geekiness, General, Security | on August 15th, 2006 | Comments Off on Counter-MANPADS Program Summary