Livejournal could be news

A thing I found while investigating how to get journal backups going again in the wake of LJ’s most recent debacle:

A while back, geeks kept saying that LiveJournal should be Usenet news, that is, instead of mucking about with all the tedious web forum stuff, it’d be nice to have a program which let you read comments and entries, kept track of threading and which comments you’d already read, and so on (remembering what you’ve read on LJ was the motivation for my LJ New Comments script, but that doesn’t avoid LJ’s clunky interface).

This was tricky as there was no obvious way to get all the comments from an entry. There was the old comment export thing, but that only works on your own journal. You could “screen scrape” with a program that tried to pull the comments from the human-readable versions of LJ’s pages, but that’s considered rude because of the load it’d put on LJ’s server, and it’s fragile as it might break if LJ changes the human-readable output.

Luckily, LJ added a bunch of new stuff to its existing interface for “clients” (programs which access LJ, like Semagic). This includes the getcomments method, which allows you to get all the comments on any entry you can see.

Add this to the existing machine-readable stuff (Atom feeds, getfriendspage) and you could probably write either a client specific for LJ (the iPhone client is the reason LJ added the getcomments method, by the looks of it) or a proxy to turn the whole thing into NNTP and let you use conventional Usenet clients. Who’s first?

(Personally, I still plan to be off once I can actually back up this journal, including the comments of my esteemed readers. But I won’t stop reading, so this would be a nifty toy even for me.)

Edit: another thing this allows is third parties offering comment feeds of your journal: someone could write a thing which turned the comments from an LJ entry into an Atom feed. Real blogs have these, so LJ could too.

Share via:Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on Tumblr

LiveJournal security issue: access to locked entries

The latest code release onto LiveJournal has introduced a problem where people are randomly getting logged into the wrong journals. This exposes friends locked and filtered entries belonging to those journals to those random people. There’s no indication that this used to read the locked entries of a specific, targeted user, but there’s no analysis of the problem available, so we don’t know that it can’t be, either. Edit: It looks like this was a problem with caching. If that’s true, it’s unlikely that it could have been used to read posts from a specific user. More here from cahwyguy.

More information is available here.

This has been going on since at least yesterday morning, yet LJ still hasn’t responded officially to reports of the problem or warned users that their private data is at risk. Edit: LJ has posted about the problem, however, they don’t seem to have some details right. For instance, they’re claiming it was only a problem for a few minutes, when people were noticing it all day on Thursday.

This is the second time that LJ has dealt with a major security incident with staggering incompetence. It illustrates that they apparently don’t have a test server, i.e. they’re a bunch of coyboys. My vague plans to move this blog just got a lot less vague.

Share via:Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on Tumblr

Link blog: william-lane-craig, richard-dawkins, debate, philosophy

Why I refuse to debate with William Lane Craig | Richard Dawkins | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

Dawkins now says he won’t debate with Craig because Craig defends the genocide of the Canaanites in the Old Testament. Craig’s views, like those of other evangelicals who share them, are pretty odious, but I don’t quite see why that means Dawkins should not debate with Craig: “no platform” principles are there so people can’t put forward their odious views, but a debate on the existence of God isn’t likely to revolve around what God did to the Canaanites. I think I’d just prefer to say “Craig is a better public speaker, I’d lose” and offer to debate in written form.
(tags: richard-dawkins william-lane-craig debate religion philosophy)
Share via:Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on Tumblr

William Lane Craig vs Stephen Law: Does God Exist?

Top Christian William Lane Craig is on his UK tour, and recently had a debate with the atheist philosopher Stephen Law. Premier Christian Radio seems to be organising the tour, and they’ve posted the audio of the debate.

I listened to the debate. A short summary is below, with a longer one underneath the cut.

The debate topic was “Does God exist?”. Craig ran some of his standard arguments

  • The Kalam Cosmological argument, a First Cause argument which avoids the usual “who made God?” riposte by only claiming that “everything that begins to exist has a cause”.
  • The moral argument.
  • An argument based on the evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus.

Law relied heavily on the evidential argument from evil, and his own variant of that, the one from his paper The Evil God Challenge, which Luke Muehlhauser has previously summarised here. Law has summarised his main argument in the debate on his own blog.

If you want to see my notes on the whole thing, read on, otherwise, skip to the end for my thoughts on how both of them did, and how atheists might do better.

Continue reading “William Lane Craig vs Stephen Law: Does God Exist?”

Share via:Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on Tumblr

Link blog: funny, sociology, transportation, alcohol

Listening to the Hair Dryer: Why Nice Religion is Still Problematic, Analogy #37,476 | Greta Christina’s Blog

“Let’s say Person 1 thinks their hair dryer is talking to them, and is telling them to shoot every redhead who gets on the 9:04 train.

And let’s say that Person 2 thinks their hair dryer is talking to them, and is telling them to volunteer twice a week at a homeless shelter.

Is it better to volunteer at a homeless shelter than it is to shoot every redhead who gets on the 9:04 train? Of course it is.

But you still have a basic problem — which is that you think your hair dryer is talking to you.”
(tags: religion greta-christina accomodationism)

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal on Induction

Wanna play doctor of philosophy?
(tags: philosophy funny cartoon)

The True Cost of Commuting | Mr. Money Mustache

Why it doesn’t make sense to have a big house miles from where you work. I’m cycling in these days (unless it rains, then I’ll probably drive).
(tags: car transportation bike commuting money planning)

BBC News – Viewpoint: Is the alcohol message all wrong?

Kate Fox, author of “Watching the English”: “when people think they are drinking alcohol, they behave according to their cultural beliefs about the behavioural effects of alcohol.”
(tags: alcohol sociology society uk britain kate-fox)

Share via:Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on Tumblr

Link blog: funny, evolution, dawkins, dancing

Richard Dawkins attacks Muslim schools for stuffing children’s minds with ‘alien rubbish’ – Telegraph

“He said that while he opposed faith schools as a whole, it was the Muslim ones that worried him the most.” That seems reasonable: the C of E schools are mostly harmless, as far as I can tell: they accept evolution and don’t examine the consequences for Christian doctrine too carefully.
(tags: evolution religon islam richard-dawkins dawkins education schools)

Religious People Are Nerds – YouTube

Following on from my post about how religion is a fandom, here are some more interesting parallels.
(tags: religion nerds fandom hobby funny)

Strictly Come Dancing! | Woruld under wolcnum

“Some exciting factoids from my trip to be in the Strictly studio audience (in no particular order!)”
(tags: television tv dancing)
Share via:Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on Tumblr

Link blog: eliezer-yudkowsky, razor, ockham, occam

julies blog: My Star Trek Quiet Book

I wasn’t familiar with the term “quiet book” before, but this is excellent.
(tags: startrek craft book)

Ockham chooses a razor

Tee hee.
(tags: ockham occam razor philosophy cartoon funny)

Eliezer Yudkowsky offers odds of 99 to 1 against faster than light information propagation

“I’ll take bets at 99-to-1 odds against any information propagating faster than c… I will not accept more than $20,000 total of such bets.” Yudkowsky taking that xkcd cartoon literally.
(tags: physics eliezer-yudkowsky light ftl neutrino cern)
Share via:Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on Tumblr