internet

LiveJournal coughs to their crimes, sort of

So, LiveJournal finally sort of owned up to getting blacklisted for helping spammers, as mentioned previously. This posting is their response to the situation. They say they’re doing the right things, although you do have to wonder what took them so long.

They didn’t name Spamhaus or properly explain why they’d been blacklisted, so I explained in the comments.

The spice must flow

Notifications are coming through now because LJ have changed the IP address of their outgoing mail server from 208.93.0.128 (the address of www.livejournal.com) to 208.93.0.49 (which calls itself mail.livejournal.net, but isn’t accepting inbound mail). The blacklisting for the old address is still in place. The spammy journals specifically mentioned in the SBL listing seem to have been suspended, though.

It’s not clear if this change of IP address is part of some agreement between Spamhaus and LJ or whether LJ think they can avoid the blacklist and continue to ignore complaints. If it’s the latter, I’m fetching popcorn. It’s the work of a few keystrokes for Spamhaus to block LJ’s entire address range, and I vaguely recall they’ve been happy to do that in the past for people who’ve taken the piss.

(Disclaimer: I’m not Spamhaus, I just used to hang out on news.admin.net-abuse.email in the 1990s, when it was cool).

Postings in news have been a bit cagey about what’s going on with comment notification emails. They’ve mentioned that there’s a “third party” involved. It turns out that LiveJournal have got themselves blacklisted by the Spamhaus Block List for providing spam support services, in this case, hosting websites for spammers.

This is why comment notifications aren’t getting through: the SBL is a widely respected and widely used email blacklist. They’re not saying LJ are spammers or indeed sending spam email, they are saying that LJ aren’t taking down journals set up by spammers, so they’re effectively helping the spammers to spam. Most email spam directs the mark to a website, so providing those websites is a serious matter to Spamhaus.

This is worrying: it means LJ probably aren’t responding to complaints about hosting the spammers’ sites. I think Spamhaus would have tried sending email to abuse@lj, though possibly not under their own names, as you want to be sure that reports from ordinary users are handled correctly, same way as restaurant reviewers don’t book saying “I’m Jones from the Times“. The detailed information from Spamhaus lists a huge number of spammy journals, and at least a couple of them were still there when I tried them. This doesn’t bode well for LJ’s future, to my mind.

livredor brought this to my attention. There’s a thread on a news posting discussing the problem. azurelunatic (who is head of anti-spam for Dreamwidth) has more here, and I’ve commented on their posting.

Metamagician and the Hellfire Club: Gnus can be nice

Blackford writes good stuff: "What we do say is that it's hopelessly misleading to go around saying "Science and religion are compatible." It would be more true to say that science tends to undermine all or most traditional forms of religion, making them less plausible, putting pressure on the religious to thin out their supernaturalist, providentialist views of the world, and so on. The result is that much in the way of actual religion really is threatened by the advance of science. Claiming otherwise is, we say, likely to be disingenuous (or, to be fair, simply mistaken)."
(tags: science religion atheism accomodationism russell-blackford)

Time to change the Dail Mail’s masthead

"Many people are fooled by the Daily Mail’s appearance into thinking that it is something it’s not. Every week seems to bring fresh stories of people or organisations that have co-operated with it, but are then upset to find themselves misrepresented or just deliberately lied about in its pages. If they had realised that it is not a newspaper but a comic, and does not seem to be bound by any of the laws that we popularly imagine newspapers to comply with, they probably would not ever have agreed to speak to its journalists. Readers, too, are often misled by the Mail’s appearance into thinking they are reading a newspaper, which can often lead to enormous confusion on their part."
(tags: journalism media daily-mail funny)

Why Facebook makes you sad

Makes you think everyone else is having more fun than you.
(tags: facebook internet psychology)

YouTube – Enemies not Allies Seminar on the far-Right and Pro-Islamist Left: Maryam Namazie

Maryam Namazie reckons you can and should be critical of Islam without joining the EDL. Via an ex-Muslim of my acquaintance, who I'm obviously not going to name.
(tags: islam islamism politics religion maryam-namazie)

David Cameron tells Muslim Britain: stop tolerating extremists | Politics | The Guardian

"David Cameron will today signal a sea-change in the government fight against home-grown terrorism, saying the state must confront, and not consort with, the non-violent Muslim groups that are ambiguous about British values such as equality between sexes, democracy and integration." I agree with Dave, to the extent that it’s unfair to call Christians on their shit without doing the same to Muslims.
(tags: islam multiculturalism uk europe guardian religion politics)

YouTube – Simon Blackburn – The Great Debate: Can Science Tell us Right From Wrong? (6)

I'm reading Blackburn's "Truth" at the moment, and "Being Good" is next on the queue (clearly I should get "Lust" to complete the set). Here he is arguing that Sam Harris is wrong to claim that science can answer all moral questions.
(tags: sam-harris morality ethics simon-blackburn blackburn harris philosophy)

Chatroulette Founder Andrey Ternovskiy Raises New Funding: “50,000 Naked Men” | Fast Company

Chatroulette makes money of naked guys. Neat hack.
(tags: internet funny pornography chatroulette)

LessWrong – RationalWiki

What's wrong with Less Wrong, from RationalWiki. I didn't know about the Roko stuff, for example, which seems pretty bizarre. Always useful to see criticism to counteract my fanboy tendencies.
(tags: lesswrong eliezer-yudkowsky rationality bayesian bayes artificial-intelligence ai)

Double agent | World news | The Guardian

"Norah Vincent spent 18 months disguised as a man. She relives the boys nights out, the bad dates – and what happened when she ended up in bed with another woman." Women don't quite know what dating is like as a guy, it turns out. Or at least, Norah didn't, and ended up being quite sympathetic when she'd tried it 🙂
(tags: equality gender women men dating sex relationships)

If you do this in an email, I hate you – The Oatmeal

Via matgb
(tags: email funny internet humour)

Killing Elvis – David Hines (hradzka) – Alien series (1979 1986 1992) [Archive of Our Own]

"Aliens" fanfic. Good fun.
(tags: aliens alien fanfic humour)

Football Mascots, English Democrats And Shadow Mayors | MetaFilter

"Some council leaders and their new powers under the Local Government Act 2000 ("LGA"): – Councillors of the Borough of Telford and Wrekin have the power of flight (section 2 of the LGA)."

Light Blue Touchpaper: The Gawker hack: how a million passwords were lost

The security group at Cambridge on how the Gawker hack occurred.
(tags: security hacking gawker passwords)

Concern for Those Who Screen the Web for Barbarity – NYTimes.com

"An Internet content reviewer, Mr. Bess sifts through photographs that people upload to a big social networking site and keeps the illicit material — and there is plenty of it — from being posted." Rule 34 applies: some of these people end up needing counselling, apparently.
(tags: censorship filtering internet porn pornography social-networks)

Out with pink and blue: Don’t foster the gender divide – opinion – 19 July 2010 – New Scientist

Neurologist Lise Eliot argues that, while there are some differences innate differences between males and females, there's also a lot of plasticity in human brains.
(tags: gender science neuroscience brains psychology)

Kafkatrapping

'One very notable pathology is a form of argument that, reduced to essence, runs like this: “Your refusal to acknowledge that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…} confirms that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…}.” I’ve been presented with enough instances of this recently that I’ve decided that it needs a name. I call this general style of argument “kafkatrapping”'. Eric S. Raymond coins the phrase "kafkatrap" to describe a "heads I win, tails you lose" form of argument which sounds pretty similar to Suber's "logical rudeness".
(tags: culture debate debunking philosophy rhetoric racism sexism kafka esr)

Common Sense Atheism » Am I Sexist? (index)

Link to a series of posts: Luke at Common Sense Atheism put up a fairly crass "15 sexy scientists" post with pictures of said scientists (the scientists were all women, with the exception of PZ Myers). He got quite a strong reaction, especially over at Pharyngula (Myers's blog), read some Martha Nussbaum and eventually apologised and took down the posting.

Of note: for all that the atheists at Pharyngula tend to regard Christians as irrational, they aren't too keen on rationality when someone applies it to a domain where they mostly navigate by strong religious convictions (feminism, in this case). Luke initially seems hopelessly naive but ultimately finds the right answer and knows why it's right, which seems better than being cowed by yelling. Well done to him for publicly changing his mind.
(tags: rationality feminism sex objectification martha-nussbaum philosophy ethics morality sexism)

Top Eleven Reasons Why the Reformed Theologian Did not Cross the Road

Theology jokes are fun!
(tags: theology religion reformed joke funny)

App Inventor for Android

Graphical app builder for Android phones, for people who don't want to write Java. Interesting to contrast Google's approach with Apple's here: Apple have effectively banned this sort of thing.
(tags: programming development tools google mobile android)

Heresy Corner: The case against women bishops in the Church of England, reduced to seven words

I lol'd.
(tags: funny religion christianity misogyny sexism complementarianism church-of-england c-of-e synod)

“Sunday’s Coming” Movie Trailer on Vimeo

Yeah, I went to Soul Survivor once, too.
(tags: bible charismatic christian christianity humour satire parody church sunday video funny religion)

YouTube – Top 10 quirky science tricks for parties

I like the one about pouring CO2 onto candles to extinguish them.
(tags: science youtube magic video tricks physics chemistry)

Moderate Bouncers condemn Raoul Moat’s methods | NewsBiscuit

It's good to see moderate bouncers speaking out.
(tags: funny bouncers parody news)

Alt Text: Enter the Brave New World of Internet Psychology | Underwire | Wired.com

"The main symptom of a severely damaged person is that they don’t agree with you, so how can you convince them you’re right?" Via andrewducker.
(tags: funny internet psychology wired)

GodBlock – Protect your children

"GodBlock is a web filter that blocks religious content. It is targeted at parents and schools who wish to protect their kids from the often violent, sexual, and psychologically harmful material in many holy texts, and from being indoctrinated into any religion before they are of the age to make such decisions." Via Metafilter
(tags: religion atheism software censorship children web internet god funny parody filter)

Johann Hari: Did the media help to pull the trigger? – Johann Hari, Commentators – The Independent

"Every time there is a massacre by a mentally ill person, like Derrick Bird's last month, journalists are warned by psychologists that, if we are not very careful in our reporting, we will spur copycat attacks by more mentally ill people. We ignored their warnings. We reported the case in precisely the way they said was most risky. Are we now seeing the result?"
(tags: murder psychology crime ethics guns journalism media violence uk suicide)

The Turn – 93.12

"At the very heart of winged flight lies the banked turn, a procedure that by now seems so routine and familiar that airline passengers appreciate neither its elegance and mystery nor its dangerously delusive character. The author, a pilot, takes us up into the subject"
(tags: flight history aviation flying banking physics)

YouTube – N559DW full flight with radar overlay – Doug White King Air landing HD

Via realinterrobang: passenger with a PPL for single engined light aircraft lands something a bit bigger when his pilot dies. Video of the radar with audio from the radio.
(tags: aviation flying pilot air-traffic-control emergency radar)

FIREFLY: The Credits Sequence It Deserved!

io9.com gives Joss Whedon's "Firefly' an 80s style intro sequence. Still not as good as Airwolf's, but a good effort.
(tags: video funny youtube television firefly intro)

YouTube – Carl Sagan: A Universe Not Made For Us

"Excerpts from Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space. More specifically, from the chapter titled A Universe Not Made For Us. I edited together the audio from the audio-book, and added the video from Stephen Hawking's Into the Universe and Brian Cox's Wonders of the Solar System. The music is Jack's Theme from the Lost soundtrack."
(tags: cosmology astronomy sagan science evolution universe video youtube religion creationism)

Moral Realism in the Bible?

"Most theologians seem to think the Hebrew Bible presupposes a subjective theory of ethics that grounds right and wrong in the nature or attitudes of a person, Yahweh. This is called divine command theory. Bible scholar Jaco Gericke has proposed an alternate view: that some passages of the Bible presuppose objective moral realism, such that right and wrong are grounded in something beyond the attitudes of a person or persons. Under such a view, Yahweh might sometimes be wrong."
(tags: bible morality philosophy religion christianity)

Proof of Batman’s existence

Fun with the Ontological Argument. The comments are good, too… Via andrewducker.
(tags: funny philosophy ontological anselm religion)

The curious case of the You’re Not Helping blog « The Buddha Is Not Serious

How not to do it: Atheist starts anonymous blog to tell some other outspoken atheists (PZ, Ophelia Benson, and so on) to cool it, or something. Eventually, someone notices that many commenters on the site are the same person. That person makes a flounce post about being "silenced" and makes their blog private. D'oh!
(tags: blogging drama atheism internet)

Leicester strikes a blow for secularism | Theo Hobson | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

Theo Hobson on events in Leicester, where the new Lord Mayor has appointed a secular chaplain and removed prayers before monthly council meetings. Hobson notes that the C of E is, perhaps wisely, not making much of a fuss about this: "establishment at all levels is more or less indefensible; the more discussed it is, the more obvious this is. The church can only hope that interest dies down."
(tags: anglicanism religion leicester secularism)

2008 Google I/O Session Videos and Slides: Building Scalable Web Applications with Google App Engine

Writing a blog in Google App Engine: tempting…
(tags: google tutorial video appengine gae scalability python)