Archive for January 28th, 2009

Government-Issue Cookies

An item in the news, making its way around the web, is the EFF’s demands of the White House regarding the use of “cookies” on the whitehouse.gov website, in contravention of longstanding tradition. I know that government websites, as a rule, aren’t supposed to make use of cookies, which can be used to track visitors without their knowledge or consent. I mean, it’s come up in the past, so I was dimly aware of the fact, but don’t really give it much thought.

Apparently, neither do a lot of government webmasters:
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Published in: Geekiness, General, Security | on January 28th, 2009 | 1 Comment »

Cellos Manhood-Safe

Male cellists, rejoice! It turns out that playing the instrument isn’t actually hard on your private parts, after all.

While a tiny, tiny few people are no doubt relieved by this news, most of you reading this are probably thinking “WTF?”. Well, it seems that, decades ago, someone “identified” the improbable medical condition ‘Guitar Nipple’, which is about what you’d expect from the name. Convinced it was a joke, another doctor managed to publish a paper on the even-more-improbable affliction of “Cello Scrotum”, which one probably doesn’t need a diagram or lengthy explanation to understand the basic gist of.

Alas, Baroness Murphy made the whole thing up, and has finally come clean.

Am I the only one who finds it amusing that, two centuries after the Age of Enlightenment, even trained professionals are falling prey to ludicrously-conceived nonexistent ailments? Next thing you know, some self-professed expert is going to claim that there’s a “medical condition” called “attention-deficit disorder”, or something like that…

Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', Geekiness, General, History | on January 28th, 2009 | 1 Comment »

Operations Snowbound, Hayride

Sixty years ago this month, some of the worst winter storms in memory battered the great plains, dumping feet of snow across the country and bringing the region to a screeching halt. Just as residents would dig out from under one blizzard, another storm would arrive. Millions of people were trapped in their homes, as local governments struggled, and failed, to clear snow that drifted in some places to thirty feet in depth. Tens of millions of heads of cattle were left unattended, without food, in temperatures that frequently dipped to twenty below zero, Fahrenheit. It was a crisis the size and scale of which had never happened before – and, so far, has not again.

Sixty years ago this week, the U.S. Army and Air Force mobilized to rescue hundreds of thousands of people across Nebraska, Wyoming, and the Dakotas. The Air Force operation – dropping hay to stranded herds of cattle – was known as Hayride (and sometimes Haylift); the Army undertaking was Operation Snowbound.

Their efforts are mostly forgotten, today, but that need not be the case…
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Published in: General, History, Security | on January 28th, 2009 | 2 Comments »