jwz mixtape 102

Please enjoy jwz mixtape 102. It's a little mellower than usual.

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ShareMeNot

ShareMeNot

ShareMeNot is a Firefox add-on designed to prevent third-party buttons (such as the Facebook “Like” button or the Twitter “tweet” button) embedded by sites across the Internet from tracking you until you actually click on them. ShareMeNot does this without completely removing the buttons from the web experience.

Did you know that buttons like these allow Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and others to track your online browsing activities on every site that includes one of these buttons, even if you never click the buttons and even if you have third-party cookies disabled?

The FAQ explains why this is somewhat more complicated to accomplish than what ad-blockers generally do.

I wish there was a Safari version.

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DNA Lounge: Wherein we officially own a pizza restaurant. Also photos.

Escrow closed this week, and we got our real liquor license for DNA Pizza ("On Sale Beer and Wine Eating Place"). We had been running on a temporary license during the escrow period, and that temporary license was about to expire this Thursday, so there was much rejoicing that the wheels of bureaucracy finally ground around before that happened.

Still no word on the espresso machine. If you know someone who will rent or loan us a working espresso machine (of any size or vintage) for a month or two, that would be extremely helpful... (Most people who lease them want multi-year commitments, but we just need a loaner while we sort this shit out.)

Photo galleries are up of Blue Flame, a hip hop showcase, and of the Hubba Hubba Revue mashup show at Bootie:

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Also I've re-done the photo gallery index pages. Instead of a chronological textual list, now there's a little thumbnail for each gallery as well, and it flows to fill the whole window as you resize. What do you think?

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Vaudeville Ventriloquist Dummy Portraits

Your nightmares thank me in advance.

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Mork keeps on giving: When the database worms eat into your murder trial

You may recall that back in 2004, I tried to extract the recently-visited URLs from Mozilla's history database, re-discovered some major, major insanity, and did some colorful swearing. See "When the database worms eat into your brain", the halfassed perl script I eventually came up with, RESOLVED WONTFIX bug 241438, and where it all started, "Netscape Mail Summary Files", 1998.

(For some reason, one of the wikitards thought that this bug report was of such significance to the Global Repository of All Human Knowledge that there's an entire sub-section on my Wikipedia page about it. I spent perhaps a grand total of 24 hours of my life thinking about this -- ok maybe 25 by now -- and this is what gets memorialized? WTF. Seriously. W the F.)

Anyway, you may be interested to know that seven years after that bug report, and thirteen years after it should have happened:

@chrisblizzard 5 Jul 2011
I'm told that the last of mork has been excised from the Mozilla tree. (this is kind of for @shaver, but really for @jwz)

But what brings us here today is a gentle reminder that when you write code this bad, you can actually kill people.

I'm leaving the DB-dump images in the following quote as a reminder of just how insane this code was. Think of these as skulls on sticks at the edge of the wasteland, saying "Never pass this way again".


Digital Evidence Discrepancies -- Casey Anthony Trial

The digital forensic evidence in this case is of particular interest to me as it involved the recovery and analysis of a Mozilla Firefox history database. The Internet history records within this database turned out to be extremely important to the prosecution case as the existence of Google searches relating to "chloroform" and other possibly relevant records prior to the child's disappearance could have indicated premeditation. This, of course, could have meant the difference between a conviction for murder in the first degree and manslaughter if found guilty. The State of Florida also has the death penalty as a punishment option for capital crimes.

During a keyword search of Anthony's computer, a hit was found for the word "chloroform". The hit was identified in what appeared to be a Mork database belonging to Mozilla Firefox. The file was identified as residing in unallocated clusters, and rather surprisingly, is reported to have been intact. Furthermore, all of the blocks belonging to the file were said to be contiguous. [...]

He pointed out the discrepancy between the first analysis the sheriff’s office did that showed one visit to a website about chloroform and an analysis done later with a second program that appeared to show 84 visits. However, according to Baez, the first report showed a progression that made it clear that the 84 visits were actually to MySpace. This was a major discrepancy with critical digital evidence presented in an extremely serious trial. [...]

The Mork record containing "http://www.sci-spot.com/Chemistry/chloroform.htm" is identified as record 174EF. The Index record from the original file is highlighted and shown in Figure 10 below.


Figure 10

The entire record is contained within square brackets. The highlighted line above shows the full record. The first field 82 ("URL") is stored in cell 27F4B, as shown in Figure 11.


Figure 11

The second field 84 ("LastVisitDate") is stored in cell 27F4C, as shown in Figure 12 (2008-03-21 19:16:34 UTC / 2008-03-21 15:16:34 Local Time). Once again, this integer represents the number of micro-seconds from the 1st January 1970, 00:00:00 UTC.


Figure 12

The third field 85 ("FirstVisitDate") is stored in cell 27F4C. This is the same cell value as for ("LastVisitDate") and indicates this is the first visit to this web site during the scope of the current recorded history. The First and Last visit times are the same.

The fourth field 83 (“Referrer”) is stored in cell 27F49, as shown in Figure 13.


Figure 13

There are two critical points to make with this record. Firstly, there is no field 86 ("VisitCount") therefore this URL has only been visited once (not 84 times). This is further corroborated by the fact that field 85 ("FirstVisitDate") shows the exact same date/time as the "LastVisitDate". The second point is that the visit was recorded at 15:16:34 hours (local time) and NOT at 15:16:13 hours as was stated during the trial (from the report produced by the second forensic tool).


(Let me emphasize that those images above are not hex dumps or something: that's the actual, literal text of this file format!)

Previously, previously.

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The Brain on Trial

Advances in brain science are calling into question the volition behind many criminal acts. A leading neuroscientist describes how the foundations of our criminal-justice system are beginning to crumble, and proposes a new way forward for law and order.

At the same time, Alex was complaining of worsening headaches. The night before he was to report for prison sentencing, he couldn’t stand the pain anymore, and took himself to the emergency room. He underwent a brain scan, which revealed a massive tumor in his orbitofrontal cortex. Neurosurgeons removed the tumor. Alex’s sexual appetite returned to normal.

The year after the brain surgery, his pedophilic behavior began to return. The neuroradiologist discovered that a portion of the tumor had been missed in the surgery and was regrowing -- and Alex went back under the knife. After the removal of the remaining tumor, his behavior again returned to normal.

When your biology changes, so can your decision-making and your desires. The drives you take for granted depend on the intricate details of your neural machinery. Although acting on such drives is popularly thought to be a free choice, the most cursory examination of the evidence demonstrates the limits of that assumption.

[...]

This puts us in a strange situation. After all, a just legal system cannot define culpability simply by the limitations of current technology. Expert medical testimony generally reflects only whether we yet have names and measurements for a problem, not whether a problem exists. A legal system that declares a person culpable at the beginning of a decade and not culpable at the end is one in which culpability carries no clear meaning.

The crux of the problem is that it no longer makes sense to ask, “To what extent was it his biology, and to what extent was it him?,” because we now understand that there is no meaningful distinction between a person’s biology and his decision-making. They are inseparable.

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HONK

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Exterminate all rational spice.

I approve of this experiment wholeheartedly. Dune would be much better with no dialog at all. Dune Without Words:

(Apparently embedding is disabled because Youtube won't allow it to be embedded, rather than the uploader. Insert formless obscenities here.)

In fact, I think there are probably a lot of movies that would be better without dialog. Off the top of my head, I'll nominate: Ken Russell's Salome, which is gorgous to look at but absolutely intolerable to listen to, and The Cell. I guess 2001 would work pretty well too, since it's almost silent already. I think you could make a pretty good go of Bill and Ted this way, too.

Previously, previously.

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Hooters Waitress-Turned-Lawmaker Admits to Carving Initials Into Assembly Desk

At least she's "strong-willed and eager to become successful."

Rep. Julia Hurley, 29, is a freshman legislator from Tennessee who once worked as a waitress at a Hooters restaurant. Yeah, so what. You got a problem with it? As she recently told Hooters Magazine (it's like The Economist, but with articles about onion rings and large breasts), "I have taken quite a bit of flack from the public at large during my run for State House in Tennessee for being a Hooters Girl. But I know that without that time in my life I would not be as strong-willed and eager to become successful." Right on, Rep. Hurley! Unfortunately, though, her political career has gotten off to a not-so-auspicious start.

Hurley confirmed to the Knoxville News Sentinel this week that it was indeed she who had carved the initials "J.C.H." into a wood desk on the floor of the state House. The vandalism occurred back in May, but a local TV crew turned it into a pet cause recently, and she finally fessed up, saying, "It was like one in the morning on the last day of the session. I wasn't thinking straight."

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"This Painting is Not Available in Your Country"


Update: Prints for sale, and a cute making-of video:

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