Archive for July, 2007

All Hashed Up

An interesting presentation (5.2MB PDF file) on computer forensics I stumbled across a while back discusses, in part, the benefits (and shortcomings) of rolling hashes versus the more conventional type used for file analysis, at least in the context of forensic identification of computer files. Rather than explain how the whole thing works, I’ll just point you to the file, which covers a multitude of other very interesting stuff, as well. However, I must warn you, that, well, the presentation contains imagery that many may find objectionable. Indeed, just consider the prominent warning:
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Published in: Geekiness, General, Security | on July 31st, 2007 | No Comments »

Robots and Meat Piles

Robots and piles of meat? No, it’s not the deli of the future – it’s a pair of interesting stories from the BBC. Robotics geeks will be competing next year for money and prizes in an effort to develop autonomous battlefield vehicles. As long as the people who developed the AI for the game Battlefield 2 don’t get involved, we’ll probably all be fine.

Unrelated, one hopes, is a large pile of rotting meat in a field just outside Bucharest, Romania. The authorities blame a firm named Protan, who in term blame unspecified abbatoirs or large farms for the forty-seven ton aromatic eyesore, which includes, among other types of critters, chickens and horses. I can’t quite figure out what, exactly, Protan does, but there can’t be that many types of businesses that could be expected to produce nearly one hundred thousand pounds of animal carcasses in a short period of time… can there? At the same time, the Protan denials – “This is not our rubbish. We don’t use plastic bags, we use rubble for disposal” – aren’t particularly strong. Unlike, apparently, the smell…

Published in: General | on July 31st, 2007 | No Comments »

Nutjobs

I think every U.S. government agency gets at least a few crazy FOIA requests a year, often related to either UFOs or conspiracy-theory stuff like psychic mind-control. In the short time the United Kingdom has had a Freedom of Information law, their government has been spared no mercy from the relentless, “truth”-pursuing nutjobs; a quick look through the requests received by the Ministry of Defense shows the high number of requests from the tinfoil-hat brigades.
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Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', Geekiness, General | on July 30th, 2007 | No Comments »

Open-Source Intelligence

Star Tribune collumnist Nick Coleman wrote a touching, human-interest story a couple days ago about the tragedy that befell a pair of construction workers deep beneath the streets of Saint Paul, when a downpour flooded the storm drain they were in and washed them away to their demise. I certainly don’t mean to make light of this tragedy, or to be insensitive in any way, but, on behalf of myself, a lot of urban explorers, and doubtless a few bored teenagers who should know better but don’t, I’d like to thank mister Coleman for telling us everything we need to know to get into that particular sewer system.
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Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', General, Security, Urban Exploration | on July 29th, 2007 | No Comments »

When it Rains, No Drains

Authorities tonight are reporting that one body has been recovered from the Mississippi River, one day after heavy rains swept away a pair of men working in a Saint Paul storm sewer tunnel, sadly demonstrating the Urban Exploration adage “When it rains, no drains.” The sewers, which are more extensive than most people probably realize, can also be surprisingly beautiful; beautiful, enough, in fact, to attract photographers from half the world away. Go figure!

Published in: General, Urban Exploration | on July 27th, 2007 | No Comments »