No shit genius…Everytime I submit a posting to Craigslist I am always greeted at one point by a ‘Captcha’ (Completely Automated Public Turing tests to tell Computers and Humans Apart) security code; which is used to determine whether I am a spam-spewing robot selling timeshares in Florida. From what I understand, it isn’t uncommon for one to request another generated code. More often than not, squinting and distressing over the lack of necessary symbols has to occur before you can give away your $9.99 IKEA LACK side table.
The Daily Mail posted a story today saying that researchers at Stanford University have been able to break most Captcha codes with their software. The software is aptly able to dissect the code into something far more readable; sans strike-throughs, close spacing and distortion. The boffins at Stanford were able to crack 93 per cent of the codes on big sites such as Visa, eBay and World of Warcraft. It would be wise to roll out this software in app form so I can stop dealing with this:
Because you would have to be a SpamBot to figure some of these Captchas out.
Fashion Talk…Recently Vogue Italia was at the center of a backlash after delicately terming a new accessory trend as ‘slave’. The high-fashion magazine featured a new accessories piece on its website showing huge, hooped-earrings under the heading “Slave Earrings, Hoop Earrings: A Classic Always in Evolution.” Vogue Italia has since issued a public apology in an article citing that, “If the name brings to mind the decorative traditions of the women of color who were brought to the southern United States during the slave trade, the latest interpretation is pure freedom.” And, absolute style. But seriously, this is how the fashion industry works and I am still quite impressed that the industry continues to shock. Although, I believe it was an insensitive move, the way forward is dialogue and this isn’t encouraged by silence.
Models, designers and people who can’t afford high-fashion all came out to declare this a racial slur. Vogue Italia also admonished that the incident may boil down to a translation issue. It is fair to mention that Vogue Italia did print an all black model edition back in 2008—maybe they thought that qualified for a pass?
Former supermodel, icon and wife of David Bowie, Iman said: “They might as well have called them nigga earrings.” What Iman didn’t know is that the item was initially called, “Put two rings in their ears so you can chain ‘em up and they will never leave the land they work on after you whip ‘em.”
But editorially, it didn’t seem to flow as well.
On blast…This week China decided to call out the US on its struggle with debt, going as far as saying the nation has a “debt addiction”. Following the States’ loss of its AAA credit rating, China admonished that there needs to be a new and stable global reserve currency. As stated by the official news agency Xinhua: "China, the largest creditor of the world’s sole superpower, has every right now to demand the United States address its structural debt problems and ensure the safety of China’s dollar assets."
I can almost understand this however, China believes the remedy to the superpowers’ debt woes are to cut military and social welfare expenditure. You know, things that aren’t necessary…
Whilst many of us are beginning to comprehend the debt struggles of the West it is still highly ludicrous for China, in my opinion, to give any suggestions. Especially, given their consistently “sound” economic practices and their all time high inflation despite being one of Africa’s biggest oil investors. As much as I have disdain for economic practices in the US for the last 60-odd years I still refuse to see why China believes it has anything useful to say on such matters. I mean this is a nation that allows stillborn babies to be used in stamina enhancement pills.
(Takes deep breath.)
Paris… A poor old lady (69) survived being locked in her own bathroom for almost three weeks. Living on tap water with no means to communicate and no window to smash and burst her way through, the woman had to bang against her pipes in the hopes that somebody would hear her.
A neighbor said: “…we thought they were doing work at night. We said: ‘They are going too far! They are preventing us from sleeping!’ If we had known….”
This Thanksgiving perhaps we should all make an effort to at least send your neighbor a note or piece of pie, just in case you overdo it and end up getting locked in your shitter.
Guatemala… Today, the US secretary of state Hilary Clinton, and health secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologized on behalf of the US to Guatemala. Why? In the mid to late 1940s American doctors infected 696 (mentally ill) subjects with syphilis to determine whether penicillin could be used as treatment.
So when you watch Jersey Shore this weekend, be mindful that modern medicine still has leaps to make. Feel content that Americans are no longer using foreign subjects to understand the nature of STDs but instead its own citizens.
British Politics…So after a lot of jostling (mostly by the media) and general public disinterest I am delighted to report that the Labour party have a elected a new leader. Alas, it isn’t the dashing David Miliband but instead his brother Ed “we are the optimists” Miliband.
Labour supporters should feel somewhat confident in Ed who like his brother sounds good on paper and will probably end up doing an okay job; which is kind of irrelevant especially since it will be a while yet before Labour are allowed back in the premier league.
After the new leader was announced the tabloids got their picture of the two brothers sharing a brotherly embrace. Isn’t that just nice? Not surprisingly many are speculating that David is
spitting his dummy out reluctant to accept a position within the shadow cabinet.
Let’s hope that this isn’t the pre-cursor to some meltdown I’m sure Ed might let you have a go next time.
(Watch your back, Ed.)
Update: ‘David Miliband set to quit Front Bench’
It’s a possibility… Massachusetts native Ron Sveden, 75, arrived at a hospital with a collapsed lung and pneumonia. The x-rays of his lungs showed dark spots which are usually a cause for concern. Preparing himself for being diagnosed with cancer was a wasted effort when doctors told Mr. Sveden that a pea was sprouting in his lung. Yes,a petit pois.
The half inch (1.25cm) plant took root after it had travelled the wrong way through Mr.Sveden’s body. Since its removal his health has improved and he still eats peas.
He has since said about the situation,”I was kinda surprised”.
Well, my six-year-old self is now in fear after brazenly eating apple seeds to prove a point.
Switzerland… Swiss police have recently fined a Swedish man £650,000 (just over $1million) for driving an estimated two and a half times over the speeding limit (186mph/300kph). This fine, which is probably the largest in the world, has been calculated by weighing up the income of the driver and the speed clocked by the cameras. This is apparently the usual way in which fines are worked out in Switzerland.
So for almost a year the Swedish speeder will be forking out around £2,000 a day. Ouch. So I’m guessing speeding in Switzerland wouldn’t be too expensive for a freelance writer (she says looking up ticket prices to Switzerland).
Science… A new research published in the American Journal of Cardiology,carried out by doctors from Imperial College London, has made suggestions that taking one Statin pill (cholesterol reducing medicine) with your Big Mac, Double Whopper, or Double Down meal could reduce future risk of heart disease caused by cholesterol.
The head of this research, Dr. Darrel Francis, stated that “a Statin can reduce your risk (of having a heart attack) to more or less the same degree as a fast food meal increases it”.
This is about as researched as teenagers who drink vodka because ‘you can’t smell it on your breath’. No, but we can when you vomit on the porch.
The British Department of Health have sensibly commented: “Statins should only be offered to patients where clinically appropriate.”