Archive for July, 2009

Tracking the Linconshire Poacher

To most people, “Linconshire Poacher” is, if anything, nothing more than an old folk song. If you’ve ever had an interest in shortwave radio, though – or if you’ve spent time on the dodgier and more paranoid fringes of the internet – you’ll be aware that there’s another Linconshire Poacher out there – a numbers station, in fact.

I don’t recall ever hearing the Poacher here in the United States; the only numbers stations I used to be able to hear were all in Spanish. Not to worry, though; the BBC some time ago produced a half-hour radio program examining the history behind this famous numbers station, which you can download here for your listening pleasure: Tracking the Linconshire Poacher (10MB, 26min MP3). Enjoy.

Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on July 24th, 2009 | Comments Off on Tracking the Linconshire Poacher

(Mis|Dis)Information on the Activist Frontier

If you troll your way gently through the stagnant backwaters of the anarchist internet, you will from time to time run across anonymous claims of responsibility for assorted revolutionary criminal acts that are purported to have taken place. I can only assume that these claims are made for propaganda purposes, a la the quaint and antiquated idea of “propaganda of the deed”.

I am a big fan of anonymity and pseudonymity, and occasionally like to ponder some of the issues that inherently arise from anonymous and pseudonymous communications. So it is that I’m, I guess, somewhat well-poised to ask what seems like a really obvious question:

Do the self-described anarchists realize just how exploitable this system is?
Read the rest of this entry »

Published in: General, Security | on July 23rd, 2009 | Comments Off on (Mis|Dis)Information on the Activist Frontier

Mrs. Madigan’s Uranium Mine

Found in the Life Magazine photo archives, a strange collection of photos from 1955 without individual captions, labeled only as “Mrs. Madigan’s Uranium Mine”. Whomever Mrs. Madigan was, she seems to have faded into obscurity in the intervening decades; were it nor for this photo, we might not even be able to figure out who in these pictures is Mrs. Madigan!

Two of the more interesting photos, below.
Read the rest of this entry »

Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on July 21st, 2009 | 4 Comments »

MGSF, 1997-2009

The Metro Gang Strike Force (MGSF), founded in 1997 as the Minnesota Gang Strike Force, was permanently disbanded earlier this month by politicians amid unresolved and unconfirmed allegations running the gamut of professional incompetence to overall poor performance to abuse of power and possible criminal activity on behalf of strike force members.

Investigations into some of these allegations have recently begun, but facts be damned, the politicians killed the program dead. Worse yet, they also pulled the plug on what would have been the MGSF’s somewhat smaller, interim replacement unit.

I’m more than a little concerned that in doing so, the State might have done irreparable – literally – harm to the statewide anti-gang effort.
Read the rest of this entry »

Published in: General, Security | on July 21st, 2009 | Comments Off on MGSF, 1997-2009

Save the Environment, They Said

Over the past two or three years, I’ve slowly transitioned completely away from incandescent light bulbs in favor of compact fluorescent lamps. Now, they don’t last anywhere near as long as advertised, but I reckon they do save money, however little, in the long run. A nice bonus is that they pretty much only come in one color balance, which eliminates the horrors my household sometimes used to get, when one roommate would buy “warm white” bulbs and one would buy “cool white” bulbs and put them in the same room. Urgh!

That said, something that happened over the weekend is making me start to reconsider the big adoption of CFLs. Why? Well, incandescent bulbs, when they fail, generally don’t set your house on fire
Read the rest of this entry »

Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', Geekiness, General | on July 20th, 2009 | Comments Off on Save the Environment, They Said