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Archive for May, 2008

Your Password Must Contain 18770 Characters!

May 23rd, 2008 No comments

Check out KB276304 from Microsoft. There’s apparently a bug that appears when Windows 2000 is configured to authenticate against an MIT Kerberos domain that throws the following error message:

Your password must be at least 18770 characters and cannot repeat any of your previous 30689 passwords. Please type a different password. Type a password that meets these requirements in both text boxes.

Holy smokes!

Categories: Computing, Humor, Technology, Weird Tags:

Do They Still Burn Witches?

May 21st, 2008 No comments

Yes, they do, if you happen to live in western Kenya. What follows is a story that was posted today at MSNBC.com, titled "Kenya mob reportedly burns 11 ‘witches’":

NAIROBI, Kenya – A group of up to 300 young men have burned to death 11 people suspected of being witches and wizards in western Kenya — in some cases slitting their victims’ throats or clubbing them to death before burning their bodies, officials said.

The gang moved from home to home through two villages, identifying their victims by using a list with names of suspected witches and wizards and the kind of spells they were believed to have cast on the community, said Ben Makori, a local councilor.

"The villagers are complaining that the (suspected) wizards and witches are making the bright children in the community dumb…. These (suspected) witches are not doing good things to us," Makori told The Associated Press on the phone.

Deputy police spokesman Charles Owino said the gang hunted down the eight women and three men in the western Kenya villages of Kekoro and Matembe. Most of the victims were between 70 and 90 years old, Owino said.

Senior administrator Njoroge Ndirangu said the gang hunted down their victims Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

Victims slashed or clubbed
In some cases the gang pulled the victims out of their homes, slit their throats or clubbed them to death, said a police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

The victims were then thrown back into their homes, which the gang had already set on fire, the officer said. He said 36 houses were burned.

Another police officer, Mwaura Njoroge, said the body of a victim burned to death in her house was, "reduced to something so small, you cannot tell which is the leg and which is the arm."

"How can they (the young men) prove that a person is a wizard? It is likely that the people who committed these killings had personal vendettas against their victims," Njoroge said.

"These people identified who is to be killed by accusing their victims of bewitching their sons and daughters," said Ndirangu, the commissioner in charge of Kisii Central district, where one of the villages is located.

Ndirangu said that residents are superstitious and have often targeted suspected witches and wizards, but this week’s attack was the most shocking in recent years.

The police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity said investigators had little hope of making progress because the villagers have refused to identify the people who carried out attacks.

(Copyright 2008, Associated Press)

Sometimes I find it absolutely amazing the level of violence that still exists in the world today.

Categories: Weird Tags:

Standards for Measurement

May 7th, 2008 No comments

Ever wonder what really defines a meter? Or a second? Or a twip? From Charlie Emrich in the September 2007 issue of Wired comes this list of standards.

  • Meter
    • Standardized in 1983
    • Measures length
    • Defined by the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792/458 second
  • Second
    • Standardized in 1967
    • Measures time
    • Defined by the time it takes for a cesium-133 atom to cycle 9,192,631,770 times between two specific quantum states
  • Ampere
    • Standardized in 1948
    • Measures electrical current
    • Defined by the current required to create a force of 2x10E-7 newtons per meter between two parallel wires
  • Kelvin
    • Standardized in 1954
    • Measures temperature
    • Defined by 1/273.16 the temperature of the triple point of water – when it’s simultaneously gas, liquid and solid
  • Mole
    • Standardized in 1971
    • Measure amount of stuff
    • Defined by the number of atoms in 12 grams of carbon 12 (6.022x10E23)
  • Candela
    • Standardized in 1979
    • Measures brightness
    • Defined by the intensity of a 1/683-watt yellow-green light spread over a square meter, seen from a meter away

Now for some more interesting, obscure units of measure.

  • Gou
    • 180 milliliters – better known as a rice cup for an electric cooker
  • Pack Year
    • cigarette consumption based on one pack a day for a year
  • Nibble
    • typically four bit of binary code, or half a byte
  • Score
    • 20 of something
  • Hand
    • 4 inches of horse height
  • Twip
    • 1/20 of a typesetting point
  • Thrave
    • 24 sheaves of wheat
  • Shake
    • 10 nanoseconds
  • Mickey
    • ratio of computer mouse movement to onscreen cursor movement
  • Jansky
    • strength of radio signals from space
  • Butt
    • two hogsheads, or about 126 gallons, of booze
  • Smoot
    • a measure of length developed by some MIT students, equal to 5′ 7" – the height of one Oliver R Smoot
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Categories: Science, Technology, Weird Tags:

ChaCha for Answers

May 2nd, 2008 No comments

Yesterday I signed up to be a guide at ChaCha, a place where you can go to get answers to any question you have. Primarily SMS (text messaging based), the idea is that a user texts a question to ’242 242,’ a guide researches the question, then sends and answer back to your mobile. I thought this concept was pretty cool, and since I like researching information so much, I singed up to be a guide. I answered their questionnaire, took their entry tests, and was accepted into the program. Today I spent time doing my 15 test searches, which will allow me to start answering queries for real. And when I do…I get paid a whopping twenty cents per answer! Not a lot of money, but over time it could add up. What impressed me most was the tools that I used to do my research (in beta at ChaCha), and how easy it was to send back an answer. I highly encourage a look at this service, whether you need answers, or you just like to help find answers. I think they’re on to something over there at ChaCha!

Categories: Technology Tags:

R2D2 Projector

May 1st, 2008 No comments

I love gadgets as much as many of you do. And most of the ones we get exposed to are pretty cool. But I came across one today that surpasses anything I’ve seen in a long time : The R2D2 Digital Audio and Video Projector by Nikko.

This product pretty much defies description, so I invite you over to their web site to watch the video. But, to pique your interest, here’s a short list of the features:

  • Project any digital media up to 260 inches onto walls or ceilings
  • Play DVDs and CDs with built-in player
  • Connect external devices like iPods, memory cards and USB flashdrives
  • Built in 20W speaker system
  • Wireless FM out
  • Format support : DVD-video, DVD/R/RW, VCD, SCVD, Audio CD, CD-R/RW, WMA, MP3, MP4, DivX 3.0, JPEG
  • A seriously cool Millennium Falcon remote!

And all this can be yours for only $2900US!

 

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