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Cryptography, steganography, movies, cyberculture, travel, games, and too many other hobbies to list!

Gulf News Online
Topic: Current Events 1:41 pm EST, Jan 21, 2003

This is the website of an English-language newspaper in the United Arab Emirates -- Another spot on the web where it's possible to find out what the Islamic world is saying about itself.

I like getting alternative news sources such as these, rather than having to rely solely on the bits that show up on western news sources such as BBC and CNN. I especially find their "opinions" section interesting, such as the column on, "Al Jazeera can change American Perspective" about the upcoming Al Jazeera English-Language website. That particular column can be read at this URL:

I may not agree with everything they say, but I'm very eager to listen and try to understand why they're saying it!

Gulf News Online

Missouri Revised Statutes
Topic: Missouri 12:50 pm EST, Jan 21, 2003

Good searchable database of the Missouri State Statutes. Want to know whether or not something is against the law? Here's a website where you can go and look it up for yourself.

There are still lots of gotchas in terms of local jurisdictions, but I still like knowing the exact wording of the law, such as in cases where I'm having a debate with someone about what is and isn't legal in a nightclub or party or something like that.

Missouri Revised Statutes

Is Segway Going Anywhere?
Topic: Technology 6:49 pm EST, Jan 20, 2003

] Workers at businesses and municipalities
] that have tested the transporters aren't exactly sending
] in rave reviews, either. "You can't keep warm if you're
] not walking," says a postal worker in Concord, N.H. "You
] end up like a frozen popsicle on a stick."

I wasn't particularly enthused about the Segway when I first started reading the "It" hype. So far, aside from seeing a few on TV, I've only seen one "in the wild" -- Atlanta cops were using them to patrol the streets downtown during Dragon*Con last year. But when I read the above comment, I almost fell out of my chair laughing. :) "Popsicle on a stick," indeed!

Is Segway Going Anywhere?

Study: Women Sex Problems Overestimated
Topic: Health and Wellness 5:10 pm EST, Jan 20, 2003

] A new study suggests sex researchers have been
] overestimating the prevalence of sexual problems in women
] for years -- perhaps because they have been looking
] at things from a man's point of view.

I do have to admit that sometimes I get tired of having to explain, over and over, that some women do not necessarily *have* to have an orgasm in order to still enjoy sex. There's an additional dirty little secret out there too: There are some guys who say the same thing! I've met many men who, once they're encouraged to talk about their sexuality, say that they too are sometimes perfectly happy to have sex without having an orgasm. Is this sexual dysfunction, or normal human variation? I believe the latter. Ultimately, I believe that the key to happiness in bed is to realize that different people like different things, and that these likes can change from day to day, so there's no one "right" way to do it, despite what the prevailing wisdom out there is on what people's sex lives "should" be like. My advice for any couple that wants a fulfilling sex life? Don't rely solely on statistics or the opinions of the sex therapists -- go talk to your partner, and figure out what makes the two of you happiest, and then if you're both content, don't worry about what "normal" is. Communicate, communicate, communicate. :)

Study: Women Sex Problems Overestimated

Google Press Center: 2002 Year-End Zeitgeist
Topic: Society 1:23 pm EST, Jan 19, 2003

The most popular search terms on Google over the year, sorted by category, increasing/decreasing popularity, and even country of origin. Fascinating stuff.

Google Press Center: 2002 Year-End Zeitgeist

AP Photo - Bin Laden vs. USA video game
Topic: Games 11:20 am EST, Jan 17, 2003

] A man demonstrates to prospective buyers the new video
] game, called 'Bin Laden versus USA,' which shows the
] faces of the prime terrorist suspect and U.S. President
] George W. Bush at a street stall in Baguio, northern
] Philippines, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2003. The China-made
] version of the current craze Game Boy's gameplan is
] for the player to defend the twin towers from being
] bombed by Bin Laden's suicide bombers by using American
] anti-terrorist weapons. It sells for 250 pesos (US$5).

AP Photo - Bin Laden vs. USA video game

Directory of TCC Countries
Topic: Travel 1:01 pm EST, Jan 16, 2003

] Here is the Travelers' Century Club's official list of
] countries, a total of 317 as of January, 2003. Although
] some are not actually countries in their own right, they
] have been included because they are removed from parent,
] either geographically, politically or ethnologically

To belong to the TCC, you must have traveled to at least 100 countries. Some of these areas are highly debatable (for example, they'll even give country "credit" for traveling to remote areas such as Hawaii or Alaska). But I still think it's a useful list, because of its thoroughness.

Directory of TCC Countries

Topic: Society 11:59 am EST, Jan 16, 2003

] Cool, yet slightly disturbing.

Running totals of the world's total population, births, and deaths. And yes, it's a very odd sensation to watch the numbers change, and contemplate the human realities that are occurring each second. Speaking personally, it gives me an intensified sense of just how *many* different people and families and societies and cultures are on this planet at any given moment.


All Movie Guide
Topic: Movies 1:52 pm EST, Jan 15, 2003

Good searchable database of movie information. Easy to navigate and extensively hyperlinked. I found the bio and background information superior to what's on IMDB (Internet Movie DataBase), though IMDB has more thorough lists of cast and crew.

All Movie Guide

Terrorisme : les dessous de la filière porno
Topic: Cryptography 2:47 pm EST, Jan 13, 2003

] "Selon CNN, qui évoque un documentaire
] d'Al-Jazeera, les terroristes auraient communiqué par
] chat internet avec un message codé, mais tout ce qu'il y
] a de plus anodin ; et point de stégano, ni de crypto.
] Voir également la conférence d'Elonka Dunin, experte
] ès-crypto et stégano, qui conclue elle aussi que les
] terroristes n'ont vraisemblablement pas utilisé de tels
] outils & méthodes."

This is from a French Information/Privacy site ("Pas de Libertés sans Vie Privées" == No Freedom Without Privacy) that has a page discussing steganography and the paranoia concerning the "porno-terroristes". The above quote is referring to the CNN article and my own presentation as sources, and stating that though terrorists did use codes, they probably didn't use elaborate digital steganographic techniques.

Regarding the site itself, there is an English-language page available which covers some basics about the group, but to actually follow the stego discussion, you'll need to use an online translator such as (unless of course you're fluent in French!). In a nutshell, think of it sort of like a Slashdot thread for French-speakers.

Terrorisme : les dessous de la filière porno

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