For a while now, I’ve been unable to post comments at *.blogspot.com blogs. Even anonymous comments, in blogs that allow them. Alas, when writing a comment and clicking the ‘Submit’ button, the page was just reloaded, and no trace of my comment was left behind. Weird is an understatement. Puzzled as I was, now I have discovered the reason: unlike *.wordpress.com blogs, to post a comment, any kind of comment, at blogger, you have to allow third party cookies! Yep, to comment you must open yourself to the possibility of “anonymous” surveillance (even more than what you are already exposed for just using the internet). Luckily, there’s an easy fix (if you’re a Firefox user, that is): install the Cookie Monster addon. Then disable third party cookies globally (Edit -> Preferences -> Privacy), and go submit a comment. It’ll reload the page, but the addon icon in FF’s bottom bar will tell you that the page tried to set a third party cookie. Allow it to do this always. This way, you disable third party cookies by default, while still allowing it for those sites that require it, viz. blogger. And presto, problem solved!
In these times of economic unrest and financial struggle, here comes a bit of sanity amidst the turmoil (and from a physicist no less!):
I’ve always found it odd that people seemed overwhelmingly concerned with the accumulation of these funny looking, intrinsically valueless pieces of paper that aren’t even good for writing on. But… moneygami! Found the directions somewhere in the vastness of the net, and now my tips will be much more exciting.
Via o Blog de Borfast, chega um daqueles textos que têm tanto de simples como de (muito pouco) óbvio. E o ponto da discórdia é precisamente o 13º mês. Para dar um exemplo concreto, suponhamos que um trabalhador ganha 1000€ líquidos, por mês. Portanto ganha 12000€ anuais, e juntando o 13º mês obtemos um total de 13000€ anuais. Mas se fizermos as contas tendo como base a remuneração semanal, como um mês tem quatro semanas, vem que a remuneração semanal será 250€, e como um ano tem 52 semanas, a remuneração anual resulta em 52*250=13000€! Ou seja, o 13º mês não é nenhuma benece ou regalia, mas parte integrante da remuneração. Este resultado é trivialmente generalizado para qualquer remuneração fixa, e resulta do seguinte facto, óbvio depois de se pensar nele: um ano tem 52 semanas, e 12 meses. Sempre. Mas se aproximamos a duração de um mês como sendo de 4 semanas, cometemos um erro significativo, visto que 4 semanas/mês * 12 meses/ano = 48 semanas/ano, o que é manifestamente falso, e o erro cometido são precisamente as 4 semanas em falta, a que corresponde o 13º mês. E esta, hein?!
If there were times when I questioned the usefulness of twitter, believe me, they’re long gone. First I got this video of yet another interview with Assange. It’s overall very interesting, but here’s the real nice bit: “Facebook is the most appalling spy machine that has ever been invented” (1:50 minute mark on the video).
Besides Facebook, he talks about his extradition case, Wikileaks’ relationship with mainstream press (viz. The Guardian and the NYT), but the most interesting bit is the final one: when he’s asked what is his greatest enemy, he replies “ignorance”. For in his view, peoples don’t like wars, so the only way to go to war, is to “fool the people” into going to war. I think he just revealed the true seed behind Wikileaks.
Moving a bit back to Facebook, also via twitter comes this pearl: Facebook’s form to law enforcement. In my most humble opinion, if this shows anything, it is that to Facebook at least, handling data to the authorities is no longer (if it ever has been) an exceptional event; rather, it has become commonplace, a routine task if you will. Adding the fact that this kind of disclosures do not add any value to Facebook’s shareholders, it is then an annoyance that has to be dealt with, preferably with the minimum amount of hassle. And thus Facebook becomes “the most appalling spy machine that has ever been invented”.
Finally, I’d be remiss not to mention today’s main news piece: the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. I’d have much preferred to see him brought to justice and tried according to the rule of law, but then again, he is a (US-)trained Mujahideen, who probably doesn’t really fit the “come peacefully” type. But all that notwithstanding, given all the cheerful and sometimes outright extatic reaction to the death of a human being, one cannot stop and wonder: have we (and US people in particular) become that which we set out to fight against in the first place?
EDIT TO ADD: not even on purpose, Facebook deletes “We’re all Osama Bin Laden page”. I do not wish to moralize on merits or lack thereof of such page (which I have not seen), but just think about the fate of all the data related to it (e.g. the identities of all those who “liked” it). Chilling thought!
Free transcription of part of the talk:
[…] give a rat a lever that dispenses food pallet every time and he’ll get one when he’s hungry. But if you give one that only sometimes dispenses that food pallet, he’ll just hit until he runs out of steam because he’s not sure of what the trick is and he thinks he’s gonna get it if he keeps banging on that lever.
To see how this applies to facebook, replace the lever with you posting some bit of hitherto private information on facebook, and the food pallet with the jolt of feedback you (sometimes) get as a result of what you have posted. Scary thought, isn’t it?
EDIT: I corrected a number typos I did when transcribing…