Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Dingo urine and kangaroos

This is interesting. So kangaroos are repelled by dingo urine. Dingos have been introduced to Australia about 3500 years ago. If kangaroos make a difference between dingo and coyote urine, this would mean that evolution selected for this trait since dingos arrived in Australia, because they are not repelled by canine urine in general. I am not a biologist, but for me this seems to be relatively fast.

I wonder if they react in the same way to the urine of the Tasmanian Tiger. No way to find out... they are extinct.

Today's Global Warming and Cooling Links

Lots of new links about Global Warming today:

There is a very interesting review by Jim Hansen about An Inconvenient Truth and other books about the subject. A good resource to throw at skeptics or uninformed people. Via Framing Science.

Then there is a post at The Intersection about the not so pressing worries about a coming ice age in the seventies. So much about the unjustified hype then.

Via Uncertain Principles comes a post about How to Cool a Planet. My take is that fertilizing the oceans with iron to boost growing algae is the most feasible, and deploying mirrors or lenses is better something we try first with Venus, as soon as that is possible. It is certainly more expensive than cutting green house gases in the first place. Anyway, it is good to have options in case it gets (still!) worse than expected.

Finally, RealClimate has an interesting article about the difficulty in modeling the melting of the ice caps and the rising sea levels.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Skype is not spyware, even if looks like it

A few days ago my wife complained that her windoze box is so slow, that she suspects that she has a virus. It also made strange, 'whooshing' noises. So I examined her internet traffic for suspicious connections with tcpdump. And bingo, there was a strange connection to some private comcast customer in Utah, using ports in the upper ten thousand range. So I blocked that host in the firewall. And immediately other connection attemps appeared, always to consumer DSL and cable networks. After some time I got the idea to block all new tcp connections to ports greater 10000, but then udp connections popped up. I blocked all of those, the desktop has no business using udp for other puposes than dns. Still, I tried to play catchup, but it always found another way, using https for example. In my imagination I fought a futile, desperate war against a giant bot net.

My wife tried a few anti virus programs, and indeed a few spyware programs were found, but the connection attempts did not stop. And then I had the brilliant idea to stop her skype program - a few weeks ago I suggested to her to use it so she can make free calls to Germany (it didn't work. When we tested it, she could hear me, but I heard only noise). Anyway, after stopping skype, the connection stopped as well. The behaviour is explained here and here.

And I nearly convinced her to use a decent Operating System, like Linux or MacOS...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

How cool is google

So, I think google is cool. But, they would be much cooler if they would see that they would be cooler if they hired me. And even more cool, if they actually did hire me. Which they don't. And they informed with this completely uncool mail:
We received your resume and would like to thank you for your interest in Google. After carefully reviewing your experience and qualifications, we have determined that we do not have a position available which is a strong match at this time. Thanks again for considering Google. We wish you well in your endeavors and hope you might consider us again in the future.
You can google for any phrase in that mail. It's a completely unpersonal, standard reply. A little more history: a few day after the phone interview, I got a mail very similar to the above. In that mail, they did say that I do have strong professional qualifications. Actually, that's the only difference. So I tried to apply again using their web interface. Which only resulted in the quoted mail above. So, that's it. End of dream. I will try again, but no sooner than in half a year or so.
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