DAO duh Cha-Ching

A group of Russian programmers decided to set up a new blockchain platform. The new platform would improve on Bitcoin by allowing arbitrary contracts to be specified, rather than just the simple transactions supported by Bitcoin. It would have its own cryptocurrency, which people would be able to purchase with real money. The platform would be called ‘Ethereum’, the currency ‘ether’. Initial purchase of ether started in 2014, and by earlier this year more than a billion dollars of the virtual commodity had been sold.

Needing new luggage like a hole in the head

I’ve been listening to the Sawbones podcast, an often delightfully bizarre and disgusting discussion of bogus medical practices through history. (For instance, did you know that some plague doctors would treat bubonic plague by applying human feces to the wounds?) During the episode about trepanation I learned that a tumi is a blade used for early attempts at said procedure, as well as for general evisceration of sacrifices. This obviously left me wondering about the luggage company.

Brain dump: American football

For your possible amusement, here is everything I know about American football. Please note that (a) this information may be partially or wholly incorrect, (b) I don’t care, and (c) I don’t want to know any more about American football than I already do, so don’t waste your time. American football is a sport played on a rectangular grass pitch. The object of the game is to transport the “ball”, which is shaped like a rugby ball, to the opposing team’s end of the pitch.

2013: Year in review.

It seemed to me like 2013 was a particularly strange year. As evidence, here is a condensed summary of the news stories I posted about on Google+ this year. If you like this sort of thing, I plan to post the links on my own web site in 2014, so feel free to subscribe. ⁂ Oxfam International reported that the combined income of the 100 richest people in the world could end global poverty four times over.

On returning

We took a vacation to Costa Rica. Our return trip was one of contrasts. I’m writing about the return trip first, to get the unpleasantness over with. That and I have over 6GB of photos to work through, so the rest might take a while… Costa Rica’s San Juan international airport is the most mellow and relaxing airport I’ve visited. After paying the exit taxes and collecting our boarding passes, we passed through security screening quickly and easily.

Operating directly on Shatner’s Bassoon

Danger! […] websites are targeting your children with so-called digital drugs. These are audio files designed to induce drug-like effects. All your child needs is a music player and headphones. There are different slang terms for digital drugs. They’re often called “idozers” or “idosers.” All rely on the concept of binaural beats. […] Some sites provide binaural beats that have innocuous effects. For example, some claim to help you develop extrasensory powers like telepathy and psychokinesis.

I think you’ll find it’s just coincidence

E-mail: Dear Amazon.com Customer, We’ve noticed that customers who have purchased or rated “The Andromeda Strain” have also purchased “Philippine Fighting Arts by Julius Melegrito Vol. 1: Single-Stick Tactics and Applications” on DVD. For this reason, you might like to know that “Philippine Fighting Arts by Julius Melegrito Vol. 1: Single-Stick Tactics and Applications” will be released on June 17, 2008. OK. Thanks for that.


J2SE 6 has some interesting new XML functionality called JAXB. Using JAXB, you can take an XSD file and compile it into Java classes. You can then add those classes to your project, create an Unmarshaler object, feed it some XML which meets the XSD, and it will pass you back a tree of appropriate POJOs you can mess with.The only problem is that the XML file my source application generates refers to a DTD which JAXB tries to load via xerxes, causing epic fail.

The war on small ziplock bags

Chicago Sun-Times: Tiny plastic bags used to sell small quantities of heroin, crack cocaine, marijuana and other drugs would be banned in Chicago, under a crackdown advanced Tuesday by a City Council committee. Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) persuaded the Health Committee to ban possession of “self-sealing plastic bags under two inches in either height or width,” after picking up 15 of the bags on a recent Sunday afternoon stroll through a West Side park.

Eau de toilet

From the NorthWest airlines in-flight magazine: Darn terrorists, I can’t even drink out of the toilet any more!