The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

I wonder how the Sunday D&D players would react to mapping a 9-dimensional dungeon?

As a kid (we're talking middle school here) I was really interested in time travel and higher dimentions (but I never liked the theory that time was the fourth dimension since it's not orthoganal to the three spatial dimenions we live in—for one thing, time only goes in one direction). I read such books as Flatland, the Planiverse and Geometry, Relativity and the Fourth Dimension and I got to the point where I could fairly easily visualize the various geometries in my head (the fourth dimension is hard to verbalize and I don't have a full mental image of it, but I can grasp at it).

So it's understandable that I was up way too late last night (or way too early this morning—take your pick) pouring over the Starmaze, an incredible 9-dimentional maze and the efforts required to map such a construct. It's an incredible map—half the size it normally would be due to it being hightly symetrical, so it's folded in on itself and each “room” actually represents two distinct locations represented by the colors red and blue (if you enter a room through a red passage, you can only leave through a blue passage, and vice-versa).

Also interesting (at least to me—I'm under no delusion that this has any interest whatsoever to anyone but a very select few) was the description of walking through such a space (if it actually existed).

The description gets a bit too metaphysical at times, dipping into Astrology and the I-Ching, but that may have been a technique used by the author to help him map the space and provide a logical structure. Still, it comes across as being a bit too New-Agey for my liking.


Now this is funny

I'm sorry, but this has got to be the most incompetent spammer I've seen yet:

From: "Geoffrey" <nicholas@paramed.biz>
To: <sean@conman.org>
Subject: *****SPAM***** Full of health? Then don't click!
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2006 06:58:30 +0100
X-Spam-Flag: YES
X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 3.0.4 (2005-06-05) on mymail.superclick.com
X-Spam-Level: ********************
X-Spam-Status: Yes, score=20.7 required=5.0 tests=AWL,BAYES_80, DOMAIN_RATIO, HTML_90_100, HTML_IMAGE_ONLY_08, HTML_MESSAGE, MIME_HTML_MOSTLY, MIME_QP_LONG_LINE, MPART_ALT_DIFF, PLING_QUERY, URIBL_AB_SURBL, URIBL_JP_SURBL, URIBL_OB_SURBL, URIBL_SBL, URIBL_SC_SURBL, URIBL_WS_SURBL autolearn=no version=3.0.4

Spam detection software, running on the system “mymail.superclick.com”, has identified this incoming email as possible spam. The original message has been attached to this so you can view it (if it isn't spam) or label similar future email. If you have any questions, see the administrator of that system for details.

Content preview: […]

Content analysis details: (20.7 points, 5.0 required)

Spam Analysis
Points Rule Name Description
Points Rule Name Description
0.4 PLING_QUERY Subject has exclamation mark and question mark
3.2 DOMAIN_RATIO BODY: Message body mentions many internet domains
2.0 BAYES_80 BODY: Bayesian spam probability is 80 to 95% [score: 0.9223]
0.0 HTML_90_100 BODY: Message is 90% to 100% HTML
1.0 MIME_HTML_MOSTLY BODY: Multipart message mostly text/html MIME
0.0 HTML_MESSAGE BODY: HTML included in message
3.0 HTML_IMAGE_ONLY_08 BODY: HTML: images with 400-800 bytes of words
0.1 MPART_ALT_DIFF BODY: HTML and text parts are different
0.0 MIME_QP_LONG_LINE RAW: Quoted-printable line longer than 76 chars
1.0 URIBL_SBL Contains an URL listed in the SBL blocklist [URIs: famefed.net]
0.4 URIBL_AB_SURBL Contains an URL listed in the AB SURBL blocklist [URIs: famefed.net]
2.5 URIBL_JP_SURBL Contains an URL listed in the JP SURBL blocklist [URIs: famefed.net]
1.5 URIBL_WS_SURBL Contains an URL listed in the WS SURBL blocklist [URIs: famefed.net]
3.2 URIBL_OB_SURBL Contains an URL listed in the OB SURBL blocklist [URIs: famefed.net]
4.3 URIBL_SC_SURBL Contains an URL listed in the SC SURBL blocklist [URIs: famefed.net]
-1.8 AWL AWL: From: address is in the auto white-list

The original message was not completely plain text, and may be unsafe to open with some email clients; in particular, it may contain a virus, or confirm that your address can receive spam. If you wish to view it, it may be safer to save it to a file and open it with an editor.

Original message:

From: "Geoffrey" <nicholas@paramed.biz>
To: <sean@conman.org>
Subject: Full of health? Then don't click!
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2006 06:58:30 +0100

I should note that I don't run any anti-spam software on my email server. Nothing. No filters. No scanning. No analyzing. It all arrives in my inbox.

And this is how this wonderful piece of spam came in, pre-spam marked and analyzed for my convenience.

Ah, if only all such spam came this way …


Charles Ponzi would be so proud

Google's stock has rebounded strongly since the S&P 500 inclusion announcement (going from about $340 to $395 in under a week). With already 8 BILLION dollars in the bank, Google just filed to sell 5.3 million more shares, which may add another 2.1 billion to the cash hoard. They also announced they completed the AOL deal.

Google Nears $400—Completes AOL Deal, Files to Sell More Stock!

The more I read about Google stock, the less I understand it. No dividends, no voting rights, yet a few billion dollars worth of stock is trading hands daily (and according to this calculation it adds up to about 15% of the GDP of the US (only it's not really counted).

OK look. What this means in real terms: 5 times more money is traded JUST IN STOCK BUYS/SELLS each day in GOOG than their entire yearly net profit. THAT is insane. If I were a GOOG employee who had my raises regulated to GOOG stock options (apparently they don't even own stocks they get a "goog coupon" to buy stocks over 4 years if their performance is good.), I'd be seriously stressing; and that would certainly hurt my job performance.

Stock Calculus (emphasis in original)

I know my Dad would say this is operating purely on the “Larger Sucker Theory” of stocks (which he also claims is a form of legalized gambling) whose only value is that which is perceived, but come on! At least other stocks give the some impression of being worth more than the iron oxide coating on some harddrives storing the ownership information (actual paper certificates? How 19th Century!). But GOOG? People actually buy it?

Then again, the explanation may lie in our crumbling educational system

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